Judge refuses to let killer withdraw plea in Butler County case
A Butler County judge on Friday rejected a New Jersey man's attempt to withdraw his no-contest plea in the killing of his parents on their Brady estate in 2011.
Colin Abbott did not prove that “manifest injustice” existed to allow the plea withdrawal, Judge William Shaffer wrote, adding that it's easier to withdraw a plea before sentencing.
Shaffer on Feb. 27 sentenced Abbott to between 35 and 80 years in prison, less than 24 hours after Abbott entered the no-contest plea to third-degree murder for the slayings of Kenneth and Celeste Abbott. Prosecutors said Colin Abbott, 42, of Randolph, N.J., killed the couple to cover thefts of huge sums of money and to make himself the primary heir of the estate. He then burned their bodies and scattered their remains.
Abbott claimed in an appeal that his attorney, Wendy Williams, and court officials, including the District Attorney's Office and Public Defender's Office, pressured him into the deal.
Abbott denied accusations by prosecutors that he was attempting to withdraw the plea to drum up interest in a book or movie deal. Williams has withdrawn from the case.
Chief Public Defender Kevin Flaherty said his office would file paperwork to preserve Abbott's right to appeal Shaffer's decision to Superior Court. Shaffer wrote that Abbott has 30 days to appeal, and that Flaherty could represent him.
Abbott could file a motion asking for another attorney if he thinks there is a conflict with the public defender's office.
“It was very much in his best interests to enter the plea,” Flaherty said. “I thought the sentence was fair.”
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates pound Padres for 7th consecutive victory
- Proposed Mt. Pleasant budget plan includes deficit, tax hike
- Connellsville students bringing Civil War to life
- Steelers’ defense unfazed by noise, believes in potential
- Former soccer coach to stand trial in Monongahela
- 24 teachers put on New Kensington-Arnold School District furlough list
- Penguins notebook: After reinterpreting rule, draft pick sought for Bylsma’s hiring
- New Kensington shooting victim’s condition improves
- PennDOT vows help for Charleroi
- LaBar: Future of Rusev in WWE critical
- Apollo-Ridge students connect world, science