Wright Pleads Guilty
A dramatic change in the case against a man charged with killing Gainesville Police Lieutenant Corey Dahlem. Lieutenant Dahlem was hit and killed by a driver more than six months ago, during the Gators Basketball National Championship celebration.
A teary-eyed Austin Wright changed his plea from "not guilty" to "guilty". The State Attorney's Office says Wright did this because there's just too much evidence working against him.
"Guilty. I'm so sorry for what I have done," says Wright in court.
A packed court room watched as Austin Wright plead guilty to the charges of aggravated manslaughter of a law enforcement officer.
"I accept full responsibility for the actions, and the pain I've caused the Dahlem family," says Wright.
But after pleading not guilty from the start, this left many wondering why Wright is changing his plea now.
"I think there is such compelling evidence in this case not only with eye witnesses, forensics, the crime scene- all that clearly show that the defendant committed the crime and as a result of that, I believe it kind of forced him to the table," says Spencer Mann of The State Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors say it's a huge day for the Dahlem's, and now they're focusing on how to proceed.
"We're all preparing for a sentencing hearing that will take place December 12, 2007, where both sides will be able to argue their position as to what they believe a just sentence will be."
And as for the defendants plan:
Q:"Would you like to make a comment?
A: "Not at this time ... thank you."
Wright had several attorneys representing him today including local defense attorney Larry Turner. No one would comment to WCJB.
Prosecutors asked the court for a pre-sentence investigation today, which means they'll investigate Wright's criminal history.
A little over a year before Dahlem was hit, FDLE records show Wright was arrested for underage drinking and possession of marijuana.
Wright's sentencing will be December 12, 2007.
By Thalia Hayden, WCJB TV20 News.
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