Suspect in child rape case withdraws guilty plea
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Sept. 14, 2022) – The city man who previously pleaded guilty to counts of rape and gross sexual imposition for crimes involving three children is now planning to take the case against him to trial.
30-year-old Jason Gordon during a hearing in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Wednesday backed out of the plea deal he agreed to back in July. Assistant Prosecutor Kristine Beard told the judge that after doing some additional research, she determined the agreement was invalid because it was based on the potential penalties that were in place at the time of the alleged crimes.
“I thought it was possible to offer this defendant a sentence that included the lower range of a felony 1, which was between 3 and 11 [years] up to life imprisonment. I went back, and I looked at the statutes because something came up and I had concerns, and that was incorrect. I cannot offer or recommend those possibilities.”
Beard offered a new deal that would have resulted in the same 26-year sentencing recommendation, but Gordon didn’t take it.
“It’s my understanding that Mr. Gordon now wishes to withdraw his former plea of guilty to the charges that were in the indictment and he wants to maintain a not guilty plea and wishes to proceed to trial,” said Attorney Chris DeLaCruz, who proceeded to terminate his representation of Gordon so the court could appoint a public defender.
The indictment against Gordon states that the crimes occurred between 2007 and 2012. He faces a possible life sentence without parole if the case proceeds to trial and jurors find him guilty of the charges.