From the April 2002 Idaho Observer:

Prewitt expected to withdraw Alford plea

SANDPOINT -- Rex Prewitt, 45, is expected to withdraw the Alford plea that sent him to prison without a trial June 6, 1999. The move, which is scheduled for April 18, will trigger a trial as per being granted an appeal of his conviction for assault on a police officer.

Prewitt was asleep on his couch January 24, 1999, when he was awakened by his barking dogs at 11:30 p.m. The evidence indicates that Prewitt opened the door to see outside, then he was pepper sprayed and shot by Bonner County sheriff's deputies Skinner and Tillson who then planted a gun at the scene and claimed self defense.

Skinner and Tillson claim they were investigating an attempted burglary and that Prewitt was a suspect. By definition, the crime would have been vandalism and it is impossible for Prewitt to have been the perpetrator.

However, due to incompetent local counsel and the likelihood that he would not have had a fair trial in the court of Judge James Michaud, Prewitt accepted an Alford plea and was sentenced to serve 7-10 years in prison.

Since that time he has had ample opportunity to study the law and collect documents. He wrote his own appeal which was granted and is now eligible for a new trial.

The IO has been covering the Prewitt story since July, 1999. It has been extremely rewarding to watch Prewitt pull himself together and construct his own defense.

Last February 6, Prewitt was moved back to Bonner County Jail from the correctional facility in Orofino where he was serving out his prison sentence. On March 15, he appeared for a status conference. At that time Judge Michaud told Prewitt that if he withdrew his plea, the state would charge him with burglary and two charges of assault on a police officer.

Prewitt is ready to go to trial. Next month we will highlight the evidentiary assets that prove his innocence.

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Hari Heath

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