ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Heated words were exchanged in Oneida County Court Monday between a judge and a man sentenced for manslaughter in a fatal Rome stabbing.
Terrence Dames told Judge Michael Dwyer he wanted to withdraw the guilty plea he issued back in February in the death of Stephen LaPointe. Dames pleaded to first degree manslaughter rather than go to trial on charges of second degree murder. He told the judge he felt coerced into taking the deal by his attorney, and said he never meant to kill LaPointe.
"I was the one that was attacked, and before I knew all of this that I read in the law book pertaining to my case, he kind of pressured me into taking that plea. He basically guaranteed that I wouldn't get a fair trial in this venue," Dames told Judge Dwyer.
"At the time we did plea, approximately six weeks ago, he was perfectly fine with taking the offer. The offer was actually a reduction. He was originally charged with murder. By pleading to manslaughter he didn't have to worry about having life on the end," Dames' attorney, David Cooke, said following sentencing.
Judge Dwyer told Dames as part of that agreement, he gave up the chance to withdraw his plea or appeal his case. Dames was sentenced to 24 years in state prison.