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Judge waives plea deal in suspected homicide

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David Brazy
August 3, 2011
— A Rock County judge granted a Beloit man's request Tuesday to withdraw from a plea agreement because of confusion over the terms.

David W. Givhan, 24, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of distribution of heroin June 16. As a part of the plea agreement, the prosecution recommended a sentence of five years probation.


Givhan, however, faces prison time because he violated his parole on a separate case. Givhan was released on extended supervision in 2007 after pleading guilty to armed robbery in 2004.


In court Tuesday, Givhan said Assistant District Attorney Richard Sullivan told him he would receive 19 months in prison if he waived his right to a hearing on the parole violation.


Givhan, who represented himself, said he found out after signing the plea agreement that he could receive more or less prison time on the parole violation charge. If he had known that, he would not have signed the plea agreement, he said.


An administrative law judge with the Department of Corrections would determine the amount of prison time, Assistant District Attorney Jodi Dabson Bollendorf said.


Dabson Bollendorf said Sullivan did not guarantee a specific amount of time because he legally could not. The 19 months came from what Givhan told Sullivan and her that his parole officer recommended, Dabson Bollendorf said.


"Frankly, I think the defendant is grasping at straws because he is having doubts about the plea," Dabson Bollendorf said.


Givhan said at the June 16 plea hearing that Sullivan said Givhan "will be receiving the 19 months" as part of a plea agreement.


However, Sullivan said he previously stated "I think" because he did not know the exact timeframe of the parole violation sentence.


"If I say I will go to the backroom, that means I will do it," Givhan said.


Judge Kenneth Forbeck said he did not question Sullivan's credibility, but it was his understanding at the June 16 hearing that the plea deal would include the 19 months. Due to the confusion, Forbeck allowed Givhan to withdraw his plea.


Givhan originally was charged with felony first-degree reckless homicide on suspicion he sold heroin in Beloit to Luc A. Marsh, 29, on March 31, 2009. Marsh later was found dead from an overdose in a bathroom at Edgerton Hospital, where he worked. The first-degree reckless homicide charge was reinstated after the plea agreement was withdrawn.


Givhan now faces up to three times more prison time with the first-degree reckless homicide charge, Forbeck said.


A date for the trial was not set, but Forbeck said it would begin before the end of the year. Givhan is representing himself.



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