MIAMI COUNTY — On Tuesday, Anthony C. Dowell, 38, of Piqua, appeared in Miami County Common Pleas Court requesting to withdraw his guilty plea.
On Nov. 14, Dowell entered a plea to amended charges of two counts of third degree felony child endangering and third degree misdemeanor gross imposition as a plea agreement with the state. Dowell was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of second-degree felony sexual battery in June.
On Dec. 20, a letter Dowell wrote to Judge Jeannine Pratt was filed. Dowell stated in the letter he felt manipulated into pleading guilty to amended charges in order to protect his wife from implicating herself if he was to continue with a jury trial on the charges. Dowell’s wife was home during the incident.
Dowell is accused of committing two separate acts of sexual battery, or non-consensual touching, with a 15-year-old female victim at a private residence on South Main Street in January, according to the Piqua Police Department. Dowell knew the victim. Dowell also maintains his innocence.
Dowell’s defense attorney, Mark Feinstein, stated his client was in a heightened emotional state at the time of the plea agreement, a deal reached a day before the case was to go to trial. Feinstein also noted Dowell also has a heightened level of mistrust of the government and court system. Feinstein stated at no time was Dowell promised or threatened into entering a plea with the state, most likely misinterpreting hypothetical scenarios he was presented during the plea agreement process.
Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Paul Watkins stated Dowell “clearly, knowingly and intelligently” changed his plea from not guilty to guilty to amended charges on Nov. 14. Watkins said he was concerned with the possibility of setting a precedent for defendants to file withdraw pleas in future cases if the court granted Dowell the opportunity to change his mind after entering a plea of guilty under oath.
Judge Pratt asked Dowell a list of questions regarding his plea prior to his guilty plea entry on Nov. 14. On Tuesday, Judge Pratt asked Dowell if he understood the proceedings. Dowell replied he entered a plea of guilty “reluctantly” and now wanted to withdraw the plea as he stated in his letter.
Judge Pratt said she would issue a decision on Jan. 6 following Watkins’ and Feinstein’s briefs to the court regarding the hearing.
A new sentencing date would be considered following the court’s decision. Dowell could face a maximum of 10 years in prison.