Attorney denies plea coercion in Wilson case

Two of the claims made by a Romulus man accused of killing two people in a 2015 accident were debunked Tuesday in Seneca County Court.

Assistant Public Defender John Nabinger, Earl Wilson’s former attorney, emphatically denied pressuring Wilson to plead guilty to killing Steve Lester of Manchester and Patty Perryman of Canandaigua in the Sept. 16 crash on Route 96A in Fayette. Lester and Perryman were on a motorcycle when they were hit head-on by Wilson, who was driving a pickup truck.

“Not at all,” Nabinger told District Attorney Barry Porsch when asked if he coerced Wilson into the plea. “I simply explained to him, as I do with every one of my clients, his options. The choice whether to plead guilty is theirs and theirs alone … or they can go to trial.”

In 2016, Judge Dennis Bender sentenced Wilson to 15 years-to-life in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of manslaughter, and felony driving while intoxicated. Wilson tried to withdraw his plea later, claiming Nabinger pressured him into pleading guilty.

Bender rejected Wilson’s request. However, the case was referred back to county court by an appeals court in Rochester, which ruled that Bender should have allowed Wilson to withdraw the plea after a toxicology report showed Lester was also intoxicated at the time of the crash.

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