If they are sentenced, then they plead guilty, no contest or found guilty by a judge or jury. I'm sure their attorney will do their best job.
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They are represented by defense counsel and it appears since they are being sentenced, they are pleading guilty. They of course should not have the same attorney for starters. In a criminal case this poses a potential conflict. Discovery in the case must be reviewed. My hunch is it will reveal some real evidence pointing to the boys.
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HILLSDALE — All three of the suspects accused of burning numerous buildings last summer pleaded guilty in Hillsdale County Circuit Court Monday.
Jason Walston, 34, Robert Bennett Jr., 18, and John Bennett, 23, each pleaded guilty to arson of real estate property as part of a plea deal and each faces up to 10 years in prison.
John Bennett pleaded guilty to two counts of arson of real estate property, while the others only face one count. All three men had a charge of arson of a dwelling or house dropped as part of the deal. That charge would have carried a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
John confessed to starting a barn on fire at 147 North Main St. in Camden on July 30 and Robert admitted to starting a house fire at 121 Jasper St. in Camden on Aug. 13, according to court documents. Walston has admitted to burning the house on 205 North Main St. in Camden. No one was in the homes at the times of the fires.
The men will be sentenced on March 25 at 8:30 a.m. - See more at: http://www.hillsdale.net/article/20130213/NEWS/130219836#sthash.NRB39TZe.dpuf
Above is what I found online. Assuming the plea taking process was properly done by the Court, all three defendants plead guilty and stated on the record that they were not threatened or induced into their pleas. Thus, while some in the community may not be convinced, the defendants themselves have admitted guilt in open court.
From this point on, the only issue is sentencing (unless they were threatened or induced into a false plea). If Bob and John have limited or no criminal histories, then their sentences may end up being lighter than you might currently expect.
In terms of suggestions, all I can really say is cross your fingers on the day of sentencing.
Best of luck to both of them at sentencing and in the future.
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