Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 24, 2012

Prosecutor wants Cushing man’s murder plea to stand

STILLWATER, Okla. — A man sentenced to life in prison for stomping a Cushing woman to death after a night of partying now wants to withdraw his guilty plea.

The Payne County district attorney’s office filed a motion Monday to deny Benjamin Littlesun’s request to take back his plea.

Littlesun, 23, was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty first-degree murder in the death of Ava Marie King, 45, who was found in a Cushing alley last December and died a few hours later in a hospital.

Littlesun sent Payne County Judge Phillip Corley a handwritten note saying he wanted to withdraw his plea of guilty. The district attorney’s office is opposing the move, contending Littlesun’s note 13 days after he pleaded guilty was filed outside the 10-day window to withdraw a plea.

Littlesun is set to appear before Corley at 9 a.m. Aug. 10 regarding his request to vacate the guilty plea.

The state contends the withdrawal should be denied because Littlesun failed to provide any reason why he requested it. According to state law, defendants must show a guilty plea was entered through inadvertence, ignorance, influence or without deliberation.

District Attorney Tom Lee was out of the office and could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Littlesun’s attorney, Peter Astor, said he could not comment on why his client submitted the request and said it is likely he will have to testify about it and another attorney would likely be appointed for Littlesun due to a conflict of interest.

According to witness testimony, Littlesun and a woman left a Cushing bar together the night before King was found severely beaten, and Littlesun told investigators he beat King when she slapped and spat at him.

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