RUSSELLVILLE – A Franklin County man, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2015, will now be tried for murder after his petition for a new trial was approved.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey granted the Rule 32 petition in a written order.
Jason Dewane Green, 42, of Russellville, claimed he was convinced when he was pleaded guilty to manslaughter that he was going to get good time on his sentence for the plea. If not, he said he would not have entered the plea.
Green pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February 2015 in connection with the 2011 shooting death of his girlfriend, Shay Nicole Ledlow, in October 2015.
Dempsey’s ruling came following a July 13 Rule 32 Petition hearing and reading over case law pertaining to the issue.
“He will be pleased with the judge’s decision. He wanted a new trial. That’s why we filed the petition,” said Florence attorney Charlie Bottoms, who represented Green during the appeal.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said he discussed the judge’s decision with the state attorney general’s office.
“It has been recommended that we not appeal Judge Dempsey’s decision, and we will not,” Rushing said. “We are planning on reinstating the original charge of murder. We are planning to re-try Mr. Green for the murder of Shay Ledlow.”
Rushing said he talked with Ledlow’s family and they are fully “supportive” with the new trial.
He said he plans on asking Dempsey to place the case on an upcoming circuit court trial docket.
In his petition, Green said he was misled by his defense attorneys at the time — Billy Underwood and Jeff Bowling.
“I was told the worse (sentence) I would get was eight years and then get good time,” Green said during the Rule 32 hearing.
He said he would not have agreed to plead to manslaughter if he had known he was not going to be eligible for good time.
Green testified he was advised by Underwood to accept the plea and that he would only serve at the “worst, eight years.”
According to state law, someone sentenced to 15 years or longer is not eligible for good time, and must serve 85 percent of their sentence before being eligible for early release.
During the hearing, Bottoms played portions of a tape recording that Green made of conversations he had with Underwood that he said backed up his claim of misrepresentation.
During his testimony at the Rule 32 hearing, Underwood said he and Bowling explained to Green prior to the plea agreement, that if he got more than a 15-year sentence “he could sue the state based on the fact that the 85 percent was unconstitutional.”
Underwood said Green was told if they attacked “the constitutionality of the 85 percent rule he would get eight years if we won.”
Green has maintained that Ledlow, who was shot in the mouth, took her own life; however, her family contended her death was not suicide.
Authorities said Green called 911 operators after the shooting and told dispatchers he and Ledlow argued, and she shot herself on a dare. Investigators said physical evidence from the scene did not match that statement.
Green testified during the Rule 32 hearing that he agreed to plead to manslaughter to keep the families from having to go through a trial.