Topeka man wants to withdraw guilty plea in beating death

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to killing a Topeka man with a baseball bat wants to withdraw his plea.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports 37-year-old Arthur Lee Ford IV, of Topeka, asked Wednesday to withdraw his plea after realizing he could spend nearly 50 years in prison, rather than about 23.

Ford accepted the plea deal in October to a reduced charge of second-degree murder in the 2016 death of 52-year-oldl Mark Everett Johnson.

Prosecutors say Johnson was killed during a break-in at his apartment.

At the time, Ford’s attorney told him he likely would be sentenced to about 23 years in prison. Instead, the sentence could be 49 years because Ford has a stronger criminal history than originally believed.

The motion to withdraw Ford’s plea will be heard March 22.

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