UPDATE: Suspect in deadly hit and run withdraws plea, will go to trial instead
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — A Wakulla County man scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday in a deadly hit and run has now withdrawn his plea and will stand trial instead.
Attorneys in the case confirmed Jarvis Strickland is now set to stand trial on March 21 on charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a deadly crash.
Strickland had previously entered a no-contest plea, but last week his attorney asked the judge for permission to withdraw the plea, saying he’d made a mistake in advising Strickland of his appeal rights.
Read WCTV’s previous coverage of this story below.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — A Wakulla County man who was poised to be sentenced this week in a deadly hit and run is now asking a judge to throw out his previous plea.
Jarvis Strickland was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, Jan. 25, for a deadly crash that killed avid runner and Wakulla High track coach Paul Hoover.
Hoover was struck and killed as he crossed Springhill Road on May 23, 2017.
Strickland entered a no-contest plea in Aug. 2021 to vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, arson of a vehicle and tampering with evidence. Court records show he faces a maximum of 65 years in prison for it.
Last week, Strickland’s attorney filed a motion, asking the judge to withdraw the plea. Defense attorney Ethan Way says he made a mistake in advising his client of his appeal rights.
“Defendant’s attorney, mistakenly it appears, advised Defendant that the issue could be appealed if the Court allowed the issue to be preserved for appeal,” Way wrote in the Jan. 18 motion.
Way is referencing a ruling by the judge just as Strickland’s trial was about to start last August. The judge sided with prosecutors in barring the defense from “presenting evidence or argument and/or testimony of (Hoover’s) conduct as a cause of the crash,” Way wrote in his motion.
A handwritten note on the “Plea and Acknowledgement of Rights” form filed in court the day Strickland entered the plea, shows an asterisk followed by “reserve the right to appeal ruling(s)” on those motions.
Court records show the sentencing hearing is still set for Tuesday and the judge could rule on the request then. If the judge agrees to allow Strickland to withdraw his plea, he could set the case for trial.
Strickland’s sentencing has been delayed several times as he undergoes cancer treatment. His attorney had previously asked the judge to grant a compassionate release.
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