A Bowling Green man charged with causing the death of his elderly uncle has asked to withdraw his guilty plea.
Gregory Shields Sr., 59, made the request last month in a handwritten motion in which he said he was “pushed into” accepting an offer to plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and serve a 25-year sentence.
Shields is accused of killing Samuel Murrell, 87, on Feb. 1, 2017, at their house on South Lee Drive.
He was arrested and then indicted on charges of murder and tampering with physical evidence.
Shields pleaded guilty last month to the reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter, accepting a plea agreement that dismissed the tampering charge but also recommended that he serve the 25-year sentence after completing an eight-year sentence stemming from an unrelated assault conviction.
In his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, which was filed May 28, Shields did not elaborate on his contention that he was forced into pleading guilty. He also requested a trial.
Shields, who is incarcerated in Little Sandy Correctional Complex, did not appear Friday in Warren Circuit Court for a hearing in his case.
Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron and Shields’ court-appointed attorneys, Alyson McDavitt and James Rhorer, held a bench conference with Warren Circuit Judge John Grise.
A hearing has been set for July 1, at which time an attorney will likely be appointed to handle Shields’ motion to withdraw his plea.
At the time of Shields’ guilty plea, Cohron said a state medical examiner’s report determined that Murrell died from a combination of injuries from blunt force trauma, manual strangulation and sharp force trauma.
Murrell’s wife, Maude Murrell, testified in a 2017 preliminary hearing that she witnessed Shields attack her husband, hitting him several times as he was in bed and cutting him with a knife.
Maude Murrell, who died last year, testified that she attempted to call 911, but Shields held a knife to Samuel Murrell’s throat and threatened to kill him.
She was the only eyewitness to the events.
Knives found in the bedroom by family members had evidence of Samuel Murrell’s DNA on them, Cohron said.
Shields said at the time of his guilty plea that he had no memory of the night of the incident, and McDavitt said Shields was intoxicated at the time from drinking and using cocaine.
Video of Maude Murrell’s testimony has been ruled admissible at a jury trial.