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GameStop murder defendant asks to withdraw guilty plea

CONYERS -- A judge took a request under consideration Tuesday from one of the three men convicted in the GameStop murder and armed robbery to have his guilty plea withdrawn.

Giovannte Maddox, 28, of Atlanta, asked Rockdale County Superior Court Judge David Irwin to allow him to take back the guilty plea he agreed to with state prosecutors on Sept. 16 in connection with the November 2010 armed robbery of the Conyers GameStop video game store. The armed robbery resulted in the death of Adrian Snow, 40, a customer who walked into the store as the robbery occurred.

If allowed to take back his guilty plea, Maddox also requested that the court reconsider his sentence.

Maddox pleaded guilty to armed robbery, aggravated assault and kidnapping. He was given a 40-year sentence with 20 years to be served in prison.

Maddox said he believes he was talked into pleading guilty and that his attorney, Robert Mumford, did not provide adequate counsel.

Irwin asked if Maddox realized that if the guilty plea was withdrawn the case will go to trial with Maddox facing murder charges and the possibility of receiving a life sentence if a jury finds him guilty. Maddox did not respond, according to Mumford.

Irwin said he would consider Maddox's request. If the guilty plea is allowed to be taken back, he could possibly be put on the trial calendar next week, Mumford said.

Maddox was one of three men convicted in the crime; all entered pleas to avoid trial. Maddox was the only one who did not plead guilty to murder charges and did not receive a life sentence.

Markus Seymore, 18, agreed to life without the possibility of parole and Tron Hill, 26, agreed to a life sentence plus five years with the possibility of parole.

Seymore was identified as the one who fired the shot that killed Snow. Hill was the second robber in the store. Maddox was identified as the lookout and driver of the stolen getaway vehicle used in the armed robbery.

In other news, Irwin heard discovery motions in the case against Jemelle Lloyd Francis, of Grayson, who is one of three men accused of armed robbery and aggravated assault in connection with the Dec. 23, 2010, robbery of Georgia's Own Credit Union at 620 Sigman Road.

Francis held the rank of a specialist in the Georgia National Guard at the time of the robbery. Francis' co-defendant, Menshack Jah Nyepah, of Decatur, was also a guardsman.

Francis was arrested shortly after the robbery and Nyepah turned himself in a few days later. The third suspect, Sean Jamarko Foster, of Stone Mountain, was taken into custody a week after the robbery.

The men are also suspects in other armed robberies in Cartersville, Lawrenceville and Snellville, according to prosecutors.

Rockdale County Assistant District Attorney Dabney Kentner said Francis' case will continue in the discovery process. No trial date has been set for Frances. The next available date would be in January, if defense attorneys and prosecutors have completed their pretrial work, Kentner said.