There was a "re-do" in West Baton Rouge state district court Wednesday morning. Confessed killer Sean Vincent Gillis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Monday. District court Judge Robin Free reviewed the tape and found that Gillis had not "technically" said the right words. WAFB's Jim Shannon was in Port Allen for the second go 'round.
Sean Vincent Gillis looked a lot different Wednesday than he on Monday when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He looks much different after spending a couple of days at Angola State Prison. He was back in court because Judge Robin Free was not satisfied with the court record on exactly how Gillis pleaded on Monday.
Defense attorney Kerry Cuccia says, "Nothing that was done here today changes anything that was done Monday. It's just making sure that all of the requirements of the law appear clearly on the record." Prosecutors dispute that record. When Gillis pleaded on Monday, there was a condition attached.
Gillis pleaded guilty, but he wants the right to be able to appeal some of the evidence against him. Lead prosecutor Tony Clayton says, "We objected to it because we believe that if...we didn't bargain with this any. The fact is if he's gonna plead, he's gonna plead straight up or go to trial. He's trying to plead and have his right to appeal after he pleads. The state is vehemently opposed to that."
So, what this means is the state may ask a higher court to overturn Sean Vincent Gillis' admission of guilt, which is almost unprecedented. Clayton says, "One of the few instances where the prosecutors fight a plea. Most prosecutors love to have a guy plead guilty, but here, you should plea on our terms not Gillis' terms."
Gillis confessed to killing Joyce Williams in November of 1999. He is also linked to the slayings of seven other women. Next week, he will be in an East Baton Rouge courtroom where prosecutors there will be trying to get a death penalty conviction against him.