Man Tells Judge He Wants to Withdraw Murder Plea in Employee Killing

Gavel And Handcuffs On Law Book

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A 22-year-old man scheduled to be sentenced after pleading no contest last month to second-degree murder stemming from the 2021 shooting of a Glassell Park Rite Aid employee told a judge Monday he wants to withdraw his plea.

Anthony Lemus' request on Monday was announced by his attorney and then confirmed by him personally when he was brought into court. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta set a hearing on the motion for June 1 and postponed Monday's scheduled sentencing.

"I think it's better to call it off and see whether there's good cause," the judge told the attorneys prior to Lemus entering the courtroom.

Lemus pleaded no contest to second-degree murder April 15 and faced a sentence of 15 years to life. His announcement caught the prosecutor in the case by surprise and numerous speakers had come to court Monday to give victim- impact statements.

Lemus, of Glassell Park, remains jailed without bail. He is accused in the July 15, 2021, killing of Miguel Penaloza, 36, who was shot when he tried to stop two young men attempting to steal two cases of beer from the business in the 4000 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard, authorities said.

He was shot in the chest and died at the scene, according to the coroner's office.

Lemus surrendered July 26, 2021, at the Los Angeles Police Department's Central station, police said.

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