Former Philadelphia Police Officer Withdraws Guilty Plea In Court
By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Richard DeCoatsworth was once hailed a hero cop after being shot in the face during a traffic stop and still managing to chase down his attacker. Now, several years later, he is on the other side of the law.
Defense Attorney Charles Peruto Jr. says, “He believes he is innocent. People who believe they are innocent should go to trial and that is what we will do.”
Peruto is now preparing to move forward with a trial to prove his client is innocent.
The former decorated Philadelphia police officer asked to withdraw a guilty plea to reduced charges.
Richard DeCoatsworth told the judge in February he entered a guilty plea on simple assault, promoting prostitution and a drug charges to get out of jail.
If he had taken the plea deal, he would face a maximum nine months in jail and he had already been in prison for 10 months.
Peruto says, “If you are truly innocent and you know you didn’t do these things, to a strong person, to a strong willed person, no amount of jail time is going to scare them from asserting his innocence. He wants his day in court.”
DeCoatsworth was arrested on May 18th and charged with raping two female after he allegedly forced them, at gunpoint, to take drugs.
He originally faced about 20 charges, including rape and aggravated assault.
Now, those charges are back in the table and if found guilty DeCoatsworth could be behind bars for several years.
Assistant District Attorney Ashley Lynam says, “It was the defendant’s right to withdraw his plea. The judge was legally and technically correct in allowing him to do so and now we will prepare for trial come November.”
His trial date has been set for November 3rd and DeCoatsworth will remain in custody without bail.