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WORTHINGTON TOLD HE CAN'T WITHDRAW PLEA

A state judge told Richard Worthington on Tuesday he could not withdraw his guilty plea because the judge deemed Worthington mentally competent the day he entered the plea.

Third District Judge Timothy R. Hanson ruled that although Worthington is mentally ill, he understood what he was doing on March 16 when he pleaded guilty to the murder of Alta View nurse Karla Roth.State prosecutor Greg Skordas said Worthington now wanted to withdraw his plea because he doesn't want to spend 35 years in the state prison. Skordas noted that Worthington not only said he understood his plea at the time he entered it but said he understood it 20 days later when he appeared before the court to be sentenced.

"The true irony is that we never wanted this plea. We took a lot of heat from the press and the NAACP over the way it came down," Skordas said. "The court went through and conversed with Mr. Worthington more times than I've ever seen. He clearly understood what he was doing. He clearly understood the potential punishment."