(10-11-21) Bryant Rhoades‘ attorneys (Justin Weatherly and George Kennett) , have filed a motion to vacate his Alford plea. Rhoades was convicted for his role in the 2011 shooting deaths of Robert and Colleen Grube in their Fort Recovey homes.
Rhoades is presently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole on charges of two counts of aggravated murder with gun specifications and two counts each of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.
Rhoades, who just turned 31, is currently in the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.
In their court filing, Rhoades’ attorneys allege that he had ineffective council and did not understand the nature of his plea.
Rhoades’ brother Levi Whitted gave the following statement to the Outlook –
“While I was away serving my country, my brother was maliciously targeted by this so called Mercer County Justice system. They needed someone to pay for this crime to appease the public and just in time for election votes. It is blatantly obvious that my brother is innocent. His life was ripped away from him before he even had a chance to begin. It’s horrible! Someone should pay!
My thoughts and prayers go out to Robert and Colleen and the Grube family. We all deserve justice!”
Whitted has been a strong advocate in the fight to prove his brother’s innocence, the new court hearings is the first step in proving that.
What is an Alford plea?
An Alford plea in United States law, is a guilty plea in criminal court,whereby a defendant in a criminal case does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence. In entering an Alford plea, the defendant admits that the evidence presented by the prosecution would be likely to persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Alford pleas are legally permissible in nearly all U.S. federal and state courts, but are not allowed in the state courts of Indiana, Michigan, and New Jersey, or in the courts of the United States Armed Forces.
According to messages sent to the Outlook by a family member – Ohio Innocence Project in Cincinnati has been on Rhoades’ case for over 5 years. They have been waiting on 22 boxes of paperwork to get sent to their attorneys in Cleveland.
OIP in the past has requested the DNA from Mercer County multiple times of other suspects, Parabon Nanolabs has been consulted on DNA samples in the case.
On OIP’s web site … the Ohio Innocence Project at Cincinnati Law, where our goal is simple: we want to free every innocent person in Ohio who has been convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.