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Gaven Carlisle’s shooter asks court to vacate his guilty plea

| January 6, 2022
19-year-old Sajjaad Butler pleaded guilty to counts of aggravated murder and robbery during this hearing in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court. He's now asking the judge to vacate his plea. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Jan. 6, 2022) – The Canton man serving 30 years to life in prison for the shooting death of 22-year-old Gaven Carlisle during a drug robbery last March is now asking to withdraw his plea.

19-year-old Sajjadd Butler made the request in a letter to Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest, claiming he felt pressured to accept the first plea deal prosecutors offered. He further states that his court-appointed attorneys were ineffective and failed to perform their duties in a reasonably competent manner in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights.

Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer has filed a memo with the court opposing the withdrawal, calling Butler’s assertions “vague” and not meeting the burden of proof required by law.

Butler in September pleaded guilty to counts of aggravated murder and robbery with gun specifications, as did the man who set up the robbery, 22-year-old Te Quan Franklin, who’s serving a lifetime prison sentence with parole eligibility after 23 years. A hearing on Butler’s plea withdrawal request will take place on January 21st. 

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