Gunter Man Admits To Perjury After Pleading Guilty And Then Not - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Gunter Man Admits To Perjury After Pleading Guilty And Then Not Guilty

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SHERMAN, TX -- A Gunter man who prosecutors describe as a career criminal tells the court he's guilty, then changes to not guilty. Now, he's been convicted of a charge that's rarely filed in Grayson County -- perjury.

It all started when, facing charges of burglary of a habitation, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and felon possessing a firearm, the man cut a deal with the state, a month later a motion to withdraw the guilty plea.

Alfred Jason Cole, 36, pleaded guilty two years ago in 15th District Court to three felonies and got a 15-year sentence.

Then came an unexpected motion.

"He turned around and said he wasn't guilty," says District Attorney Joe Brown. "Obviously one of those 2 statements, both of which were made under oath, couldn't be true."

"They scared him into pleading guilty with the threat of life, so he pleaded guilty just so he could take their the plea bargain that they gave him, but he wasn't actually guilty," says Jason Cole's sister Sandra Mancilla. "But, when you're faced with 15 years or a life sentence, you're gonna bargain with 'em."

Cole was slapped with aggravated perjury charges. His court-appointed attorney Pam McGraw argued in court papers that "not guilty" is different from "innocent."

"We want people deterred from doing that in the future," says Brown. "We want to hold people accountable if they lie under oath and so he's a long-time career criminal and he was not gonna game the system."

"He didn't perjure himself as far as I know, but he didn't want to take it to trial, his lawyer didn't want to take it to trial, so we opted out for the plea," says Mancilla.

Brown says all the charges were tied together to be served concurrently, but he wishes Cole would have gotten more time for just the perjury.

"I think he absolutely should get more time," says Brown. "The taxpayers spent a lot of money housing him here in Grayson County, waiting for him to be transferred to prison, to handle this case."

"These folks here, they're gonna build a house here," says Ellis Barrier, a neighbor to the former Cole family property.

Cole, whose last known address on JC Maples Road was bulldozed by new owners, got 10 years on Monday after admitting to perjury.

"They didn't bring up his MHMR, his medical problems. He's got impulsive disorders, he's got bipolar depression, and they're not giving him his medication even now while he's in jail," says Brown.

A special prosecutor, attorney T. Scott Smith, was appointed to represent the state of Texas in the perjury case. Brown says that was because Cole argued the prosecutors themselves were witnesses to his original guilty plea. Smith declined comment.