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Hernando County woman can't withdraw no-contest plea in murder case

Treva Anderson, 24, in court Wednesday, will be sentenced in a murder case.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Treva Anderson, 24, in court Wednesday, will be sentenced in a murder case.

BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando County woman lost her bid Wednesday to withdraw a no-contest plea in a murder case.

Treva Lynn Anderson, 24, hoped to take back the plea she entered May 28 to second-degree murder in the death of Robert Rutherford, 68, who was found beaten and strangled in his Brooksville home Feb. 15.

Rutherford frequently let young women, some of them drug addicts, into his home, authorities said.

Circuit Judge Stephen Rushing let Anderson speak at the hearing. Wearing a red jumpsuit, handcuffs and a shoulder-length ponytail, Anderson softly pleaded her case.

"I haven't been in trouble with the law before,'' she said. "I don't know much about it. I just know in my heart that I don't want to take a plea."

In the motion to withdraw the plea filed July 6, Anderson's public defender, Tricia Jenkins, wrote that Anderson agreed to the offer because she was frightened by the prospect of a trial, had limited experience with the judicial system, and was pressured into taking a plea by her mother.

Anderson believed "she has a very strong defense to the charge of" murder, the motion read.

But Rushing rejected the request, saying Anderson seemed to have a good understanding of the plea bargain and didn't appear to be under any pressure when she appeared in his courtroom on May 28.

"I do believe she was properly advised by her counsel," Rushing said. "There was really no pressure on her that I could see. … I think it's a case of second thoughts or buyer's remorse."

Anderson is expected to be sentenced Friday. Under the plea deal, she faces no more than 30 years in prison instead of a life sentence.

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Hernando County woman can't withdraw no-contest plea in murder case 07/15/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 6:41pm]
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