Matthew Pellegrini: In Surprise Move, Judge Rejects Plea Deal in High-Profile Shooting Case
Since the plea agreement was signed, Joyce has twice issued statements saying that she is very sympathetic to the family's suffering and that this is a rare occasion in which the prosecutors and victim's family do not agree on the best course of action.
The case next heads to Judge Bryan Hettenbach for a May 7 plea hearing in which Beindorff's attorneys could accept a similar plea agreement to the one Sweeney rejected today or the judge could offer him a different sentence that the defendant could then accept or decline. (Editor's note: This has been updated with new details from the Circuit Attorney's Office).
Inkley says that this gives Joyce a chance to live up to her statements of sympathy and ensure justice this time around.
"Now it's back in her hands," she says. And given that this kind of rejection is unusual, she adds, "We are feeling hopeful."
Daily RFT left a message with Beindorff's public defender, who has generally not commented in the ongoing trial. We'll update if we hear back.
Update, 2:25 p.m.: Susan Ryan, spokeswoman for the Circuit Attorney's office tells us, "We respect Judge Sweeney's decision and we will move the case onward in front of Judge [Bryan] Hettenbach."
Here's Joyce'srecent statement on the case followed by the plea deal rejected today and some of the family's formal impact statements.