A proposal to alter Dawt Mill dam on the North Fork of the White River has been submitted. Laurie Driver with the Army Corps of Engineers said it's a ...Read More
Arkansas State University Mountain Home and Baxter Healthcare are among twenty workforce-training programs involving new collaborations between colleges, employers ...Read More
The Fulton County Fair wraps up tonight with the ATV rodeo. The rodeo begins at 6 in the rodeo arena. Motor sport fans can watch events featuring dirt bikes, ...Read More
The Highland School Board voted unanimously to buy Superintendent Tracy Webb out of of her remaining contract. Following a two hour executive session at the regularly scheduled board ...Read More
A sex offender is accused of falsifying the address of his residence. The Baxter County Sheriff's Office arrested 56-year-old Chris Alan Gladney and booked him into the Detention Center Thursday on a charge of Failure ...Read More
A special session of the Cotter School Board is scheduled for Saturday evening at seven in the administration board room. The lone item on the agenda is personnel matters. An executive session may be ...Read More
A sex offender is now registered as homeless in Boone County. According to Boone County Sheriff Mike Moore, 41-year-old Robert Thomas Reed is no longer living at his residence on Hugh Bell ...Read More
A Newton County inmate is back in custody more than a week after he escaped from the jail in Jasper. According to Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape, 31-year-old Ryan Lessley Campbell turned himself to the Boone County ...Read More
A proposal to alter a dam on the North Fork of the White River has been submitted. Dawt Mill applied for a permit through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to alter the dam where a 13-year-old Springfield girl drowned ...Read More
Arkansas State University Mountain Home and Baxter Healthcare are among twenty workforce-training programs involving new collaborations between colleges, employers and high schools that have been awarded state grants ...Read More
With the summer well in progress, the Twin Lakes Area can expect several kinds of bugs and insects throughout the season. One of the larger insects to be seen is the dragonfly, and it can be seen in large numbers ...Read More
The Salvation Army and Anytime Fitness are partnering together in an effort to help children in Baxter and Marion counties acquire shoes, socks and undergarments ...Read More
A presentation was made to a local charity Thursday at Marchant Building Center in Mountain Home. A kid's playhouse was donated by the Twin Lakes Home Builders to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for ...Read More
The Fulton County Fair will feature the annual truck pull Friday night. The event begins at 7 in the Clayton-Plumlee-Walling Arena. The classes featured include ...Read More
Thursday's special session of the Mountain Home School Board lasted less than an hour and went straight into executive session to fill a few more positions. Jenny Fitzmaurice was hired as a new teacher at Pinkston ...Read More
Motorists traveling on South School Street in Gassville will want to use caution over the next several days. Gassville Mayor Jeff Braim says personnel will be working on or near the street for a few weeks to conduct ...Read More
Nicholas Roos, who was sentenced to life without parole in a double murder case involving an elderly Midway couple, is now attempting to back out of his guilty plea.
Roos, Zach Grayham and Mikayla Mynk allegedly entered the home of Donald and Ladonna Rice November 7th last year, killed them, robbed the house and then torched the residence.
The bodies of the Rice couple were found in the rubble of their home several days after the fire and the remains were identified by the State Medical Examiner.
Roos, Mynk and Grayham were arrested within days of the event.
Roos, who was sentenced May 24th, has filed handwritten motions asking that his guilty plea be withdrawn. He alleges that his decision to plead guilty was "coerced" and that his attorneys did an inadequate job of representing him. Two attorneys on the staff of the Arkansas Public Defender's Commission represented Roos.
At least in the initial filings, Roos is acting as his own attorney. In addition, a court order has been issued granting him permission to proceed as a person who does not have the funds to hire a lawyer or to pay for the production of the various documents and records that he might need in seeking post-conviction relief.
Roos had other cases pending in which he faced a number of charges. Eventually, most of those were dismissed or folded into the guilty plea he made to the more serious capital murder and arson charges.
In his petition to withdraw his guilty plea, Roos writes that he had been in a mental institution at one time for "hurting himself" and that he had subsequently developed a serious drug problem that left him with "mental and physical illnesses". He contends in his petition that despite these mental problems, his attorneys failed to approach the court about ordering what he described as "competency tests".
Roos further alleges that he had been told that it would be difficult to mount a defense for him and that if he insisted on going before a jury, he would most likely be sentenced to death. He alleges that while in the Baxter County jail, he was informed at one point that if he "told what he knew", his girlfriend (Mikayla Mynk) would be released. He said he made a "short statement" with no lawyer present.
Before a plea is accepted in Baxter County Circuit Court, the defendant initials that he has read each section of the document laying out the plea and sentence he is to receive and then signs the document.
There are several questions asked of the defendant as he stands before the bench during the plea and sentencing process.
A defendant is asked if he understands that by accepting a plea arrangement, he is waiving the right to a jury trial as well as his right to appeal. He is also asked if he has made the decision to enter a guilty plea freely and voluntarily and that he has not been threatened or promised anything in return for his plea. The defendant is also asked if he is pleading guilty because he is, in fact, guilty.
As Judge Gordon Webb was moving through the plea taking process on May 24th, he asked Roos directly, "did you engage in actions with a firearm causing the death of two people -- the Rices?" Roos admitted that he had.
The Rules of Criminal Proceedure state that a "defendant may not withdraw his plea of guilty as a matter of right after it has been accepted by the court. However, before entry of judgement, the court may allow the defendant to withdraw his plea to correct what is termed a "manifest injustice".
Examples of manifest injustice include denial of effective counsel, that it can be proven the plea was involuntary or was not ratified by the defendant or a person authorized to do so on his behalf.
Petitions for post-conviction relief are fairly common. In fact, according to one published article, a large number of petitions seeking post-conviction relief are filed each year -- most coming from inmates in the Arkansas Department of Correction.
They were described as "invariably handwritten and lengthy". A charge of inadequate representation is a common feature of the petitions. The article pointed out that most of the petitions were "without merit".
Roos is being held in the Varner Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction. Grayham and Mynk are currently inmates in the Baxter County jail awaiting trial.