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Wand asks judge to withdraw guilty pleas

By Mary Jo Ola, mola@wisctv.com
Published On: Jul 19 2013 08:22:36 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 20 2013 05:42:50 PM CDT

Jeremy Wand

DARLINGTON, Wis. -

Jeremy Wand was convicted last month of helping his brother start a deadly fire that killed his three nephews, and now he wants to withdraw his guilty plea.

On June 12, Wand, 19, pleaded guilty in the deaths of his three nephews, the attempted homicide of their mother, Sharon Wand, and the felony murder of her unborn child. According to the charges, Jeremy Wand conspired with his brother, Armin Wand, to set their home on fire to collect insurance money.

Jeremy Wand was back in Lafayette County court Friday morning.  His attorney, Frank Medina, filed a motion to withdraw the guilty pleas, referencing new evidence and recent charges filed against victim Sharon Wand.

"There's also evidence she [was] recently charged with five misdemeanors in Iowa County, which brings out a question of credibility as a witness in the case against Mr. Wand," said Medina.

Relatives sat in the courtroom as prosecutor Roy Korte argued the recent charge was not an issue.

"The defense disclaimed any concern over the issue and specifically stated there was no problem, and we did not need to hold a hearing on that," said Korte.

Wand said he felt pressured by one of his attorneys to take the deal.

"I just got -- it's hard to say this -- do what more people want, try to make more people happy.  Do what I think is best," said Wand when the judge asked why he took it.

The judge spent several minutes asking Wand if he wanted to move forward with his current defense team.  A hearing for the motion to withdraw the pleas was set.

Korte voiced concern about the impact the trial would have on the surviving victim.

When asked about Sharon Wand, Korte said, "I'm sure she was more than anxious to have this put behind her now.  Unfortunately it's only a month's delay, but a delay is a delay.  When you get yourself in the mindset of having sentencing done, it's disappointing."

If his pleas are not withdrawn, he could face multiple concurrent sentences without recommendation for release.

Jeremy Wand will be back in court August 22.

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