Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 3, 2012

Plea appeal denied

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT -- A Niagara County Court judge has rejected the request of a convicted killer to withdraw his guilty plea in the murder of a Niagara University student.

Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas, in a sometimes sharply worded decision, wrote that Cordero Gibson thought he could "dupe" her into giving him the opportunity to back out of a plea deal with prosecutors in the slaying of Brandon Johnson. 

Gibson, who had been charged with second-degree murder, has pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree manslaughter in the case.

"The defendant thinks he is savvy and able to dupe this court into believing that he was confused (when he took his plea deal) and received ineffective assistance of counsel. That is not the case," Farkas wrote. "It is now implausible (after a day long hearing on Aug. 29) to believe that the defendant did not understand the plea and sentence. His representation was not ineffective."

Farkas suggested that Gibson wanted to change his plea because he was having second thoughts about his admission of guilt and the 18 year prison term he was facing.

"It is clear to the court that the defendant has buyer's remorse," the judge said in her ruling. "The motion and affidavit submitted have no basis in fact and are an attempt to manipulate this court into allowing the defendant to withdraw his plea without a real basis to do so."

During the Aug. 29 hearing in front of Farkas, Gibson claimed he had "learning disabilities," "didn't understand" his plea, had only briefly discussed it with his defense attorney and was in a "state of shock" the day he took the deal because his mother had been in a car accident on her way to the courthouse. 

Gibson's new defense attorney, Dominic Saraceno, told Farkas his client just wanted "his day in court."

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