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Exalted Then Disgraced Former Philly Cop Reconsiders Guilty Plea

Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A former decorated Philadelphia police officer caught up in trouble wants to withdraw a guilty plea that would have resulted in more serious charges against him withdrawn.

KYW’s Steve Tawa reports his change of heart came moments before he was to be sentenced.

Two weeks ago, 28-year-old Richard DeCoatsworth entered the guilty plea on simple assault, promoting prostitution and a drug charge. Now, he’s changed his mind, against the advice of his lawyer, and wants to go to trial, knowing full well that more than 20-more serious charges, including rape and aggravated assault, are back on the table.

“They will be reinstated. He’ll be facing a massive sentence if he were to be convicted of all of those charges,” Assistant D.A. Ashley Lynam said.

Defense lawyer Charles Peruto Jr. made it clear to his client that under the open plea, the judge could have sentenced him to time served, the ten months DeCoatsworth has been behind bars. Peruto labeled it a ‘sweetheart deal’ that possibility could have had him released on electronic monitoring.

“I think the prudent thing to do was to take the deal,” Peruto Jr. said.

The defendant’s mother, Evelyn DeCoatsworth says he wants to go to trial to bring out details of what really happened.

“All my son wants to do is to speak his voice,” she said.

Judge Charles Ehrlich agreed to give DeCoatsworth two more weeks to think it over, while he orders a mental health exam.

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