Judge denies request for guilty plea to be withdrawn in Warren County murder case
Posted November 26, 2019 2:43 p.m. EST
Updated November 26, 2019 4:50 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — A Warren County judge on Tuesday denied a plea withdrawal request by one of the suspects accused in a deadly home invasion and fire last year in which a minister's wife was killed.
The decision by the judge means that Kevin Munn, 31, will now face sentencing on the first-degree murder charge filed against him by prosecutors. By agreeing to plead guilty, Munn was able to avoid the death penalty -- provided he accepted the deal and testified against the other defendant in the case, Lester Kearney.
But last month, Munn asked the judge if he could rescind the plea, saying he was rushed and pressured into accepting a deal and now maintains that he is innocent.
District Attorney Mike Waters praised the judge's decision.
"We are pleased and we feel like it was an appropriate ruling, considering the evidence and the law," he said. "We are happy for the family because obviously this
Nancy Alford was killed in March 2018 during a fire at her Warren County home after a home invasion in which her husband, the Rev. John Alford, was beaten and tied up while she was driven to Roanoke Rapids and forced to cash a check at a credit union.
During a prior court proceeding, John Alfred pointed the finger at Lester Kearney, 35, who has been charged with murder in the March 2018 death of Nancy Alford at her home on Mulberry Court in Littleton.
Kearney could face the death penalty if convicted when the case goes to trial.
As part of his original plea deal, Munn agreed to testify about Kearney's involvement.
During the hearing last month, Munn told the judge that he had received letters from Kearney, who had allegedly threatened to kill his kids and family.
The judge said he would rule after reviewing the evidence, a ruling announced Tuesday.
During that same hearing, Kearney also asked the court to remove District Attorney Mike Waters from the case because Waters had previously represented Kearney during a 2013 case involving possession of a firearm.