OCEANSIDE — The man prosecutors believe was the mastermind behind a plot to rob and kill an Oceanside drug dealer had his request to withdraw his guilty plea denied Feb. 11 by a San Diego Superior Court judge.
After a brief marsden hearing, Judge K. Michael Kirkman denied Maurice Chaneil Green’s request to withdraw his plea agreement based on the defendant’s belief that his attorney, Daniel Mitts, was not working in his best interest. A marsden hearing allows the court to hear the defendant’s grievances with their attorney and decide if there is good cause to appoint new counsel.
If the judge would have ruled in favor of Green, then the next step would have been a motion by Green to withdraw his plea. Instead, Kirkman scheduled a March 13 sentencing date for Green and his two accomplices — Archie Garland Green, 46, and Sara Saint Croix, 27.
Outside the courtroom, Mitts said he couldn’t comment on what transpired during the hearing because it was closed and the court records were sealed.
Two months prior to the marsden hearing, the Greens and Saint Croix all pleaded guilty to a single felony count of attempted robbery; however, Maurice Green, will receive a prison sentence that’s five times longer than his co-conspirators due to a prior felony conviction out of Nevada.
In accordance to the defendants’ plea agreements, Maurice Green, 31, will receive 15 years in prison, while Archie Green and Saint Croix, his uncle and girlfriend, respectively, will get three years in prison. Because of their pleas, one count each of conspiring to murder and robbery were dropped.
Additionally, all three defendants will receive a strike. This marks Maurice Green’s second strike. He and Saint Croix are former Marines, according to court documents.
When Maurice Green entered his guilty plea, he was adamant that he was taking the plea on behalf of his uncle and girlfriend to ensure they would receive their aforementioned stipulated sentences.
At the trio’s preliminary hearing in March, Jahmal Ledet — the friend of the three defendants who reported their plan to the police — testified he and the Greens were going to rob and kill Devin “Nitro” Delemar at his Oceanside apartment on Poplar Drive and then wait for another drug dealer who was scheduled to meet with Delemar and inflict the same fate on him. Saint Croix was going to be the getaway driver, Ledet said.
After nearly a week of preparation, Ledet testified that the plan was set into motion Oct. 22,2007, when he and the defendants positioned a getaway car at Delemar’s apartment complex. Ledet said he and the trio were arrested shortly after dropping off the car due to his tips to the police.
Both Ledet and Delemar have been convicted of felonies within the last year, prosecutor Brendan McHugh said. Ledet’s conviction stemmed from a robbery that had a similar modus operatus as the one planned by the Greens and Saint Croix, the lawyer said.