York makes first appearance in court with new attorney

A rural Ramsey man who pleaded guilty late last year to the murder of his unborn child will likely have to wait two months to argue for a reduced sentence.

Michael York of rural Ramsey made his first appearance in court with his new attorney on Tuesday, about six weeks after he made known that he wants a reduction in his sentence.

York agreed to a 20-year sentence after a Fayette County jury found him guilty in November of first-degree murder of an unborn baby. His sentence included five years for the aggravated battery of a pregnant Krystal Heggie, whose baby died three days after being born.

York was represented at trial by Fayette County Public Defender Ed Potter, and upon agreeing to the 20-year sentence, York waived his right to pursue further action due to a possible conflict of interest.

He was asked to sign that waiver after a Supreme Court ruling on a case in which an attorney who was representing a defendant had previously represented the victim in that case. Potter had previously represented Heggie in Fayette County Circuit Court.

In December, York said that he wanted to withdraw his sentencing agreement, contending that Potter coerced him into waiving his rights and agreeing to the sentence.

In December, Fayette County Resident Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm appointed Vandalia attorney Marc Kelly to represent York in his attempt for a reduced sentence.

At the hearing on Tuesday, Kelly asked Schwarm to allow him to obtain a transcript from the November sentencing hearing, and to have time to review the transcript and meet with York.

When Schwarm asked Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Chancey whether objected to Kelly receiving a transcript, Chancey said his objection was “conditional … on how clear the court’s recollection is.

“I don’t think a transcript is necessary,” Chancey said. “(The court) went through the admonitions (to York on waiving his rights), and the waiver was very clear.”

Schwarm granted Kelly’s request over Chancey’s objection, saying that by reading the transcript, Kelly “can see what was said, see exactly what happened (in court).”

Kelly said that he had met with York only once, right before Tuesday’s hearing, and said he needs time to review the transcript, review the Supreme Court ruling on the conflict of interest issue and to “have more detailed discussions (with York) about how he wants to proceed.”

Kelly and Chancey agreed to a status hearing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at which time both parties will inform Schwarm whether they are ready to proceed with a hearing on matters related to York’s request.

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