Man to be freed after judge finds plea deal was kept secret
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Beach man has accepted a plea deal nearly six years after it was offered.
Navy veteran Lester Belmar Jr. was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges including murder. The Virginian-Pilot reports Belmar learned weeks after his 2013 sentencing that he had been offered a plea deal — one his lawyer allegedly kept secret.
The Wednesday hearing was prompted by an order from Judge Robert E. Payne that accused Belmar’s former attorney, Martin Bullock, of hiding the deal. Bullock says Belmar rejected the deal. Belmar’s earlier convictions were thrown out and he pleaded to involuntary manslaughter and unlawful wounding.
He was sentenced to 4 ½ years, a term less than the nearly 5 years he’s already served. He’s expected to be released soon.
Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com