McGee's appeal denied

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Post-conviction relief was denied last month for a man who pleaded guilty to trying to break into the pharmacy at Marshall Medical Center.

The Court of Criminal Appeals denied a petition on behalf of Alvin T. McGee, 41.

McGee was out on parole when he allegedly tried to get into the pharmacy, with his co-defendant acting as lookout, on March 25, 2008. According to court records, McGee pried open the pharmacy door, and also removed some ceiling tiles in an effort to gain entry to the pharmacy through the ceiling.

McGee pled guilty to attempted burglary and vandalism, and Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler sentenced him to five years for each offense, to be served concurrently, but consecutive to the rest of the sentence for which McGee was out on parole. As a persistent Range III offender, McGee would have to serve 45 percent of his sentence before being eligible for a parole hearing.

McGee appealed on the grounds that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered, but the post-conviction court denied the appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed this judgment.

The post-conviction court believed the testimony of McGee's attorney, Christopher Westmoreland of Shelbyville, who told them that McGee "fully understood the nature and effect of his guilty pleas" and that he and McGee had "coherent conversations" at the guilty plea hearing.

"Additionally, the court noted that at the plea hearing (McGee) stated... he was knowingly and voluntarily pleading guilty," according to the opinion of the Court of Criminal Appeals, written by Judge Norma Ogle.