GOSHEN — A man who pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in connection with the Saleh's Market double homicide is seeking private counsel.
Richard Gross, 22, pleaded guilty in Dec. 9, 2013, less than an hour before his trial. His sentencing hearing was scheduled for March 14, 2014.
During his plea hearing, Gross admitted he assisted in the Sept. 5 robbery at Saleh's Market convenience store at 401 Middlebury St. Jagtar Bhatti, 55, and Pawan Singh, 20, the owner and an employee of the convenience store, were shot and killed during the robbery.
Gross' counsel filed an open plea, which means Judge Terry Shewmaker could sentence any punishment specified by law, according to a news release from the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.
In Gross' case, both he and the prosecuting attorney would argue Gross' sentence and even present evidence during his hearing.
However, during a hearing Thursday morning, March 6, Gross told the court he was trying to hire a private attorney. Gross was appointed an attorney from the public defender's office.
Gross' attorney, Jeff Majerek, said he could confirm Gross had tried to hire an attorney, but the attorney said he would be out of town until April.
Gross told the court asking to withdraw his plea of guilty, but Shewmaker said the court could not accept the letter if Gross still had counsel.
With eight days left before the sentencing hearing, Shewmaker said the court will proceed March 14 to the extent it is doable.
According to the plea agreement, Gross will reserve the right to appeal his sentence.