Judge denies man’s bid to withdraw plea in Indy doctor’s slaying

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A 19-year-old man who pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of a prominent Indianapolis doctor faces decades behind bars after a judge refused to allow him to back out of his plea deal.

Devon Seats pleaded guilty in January to murder and three counts of burglary in the November 2017 slaying of Dr. Kevin Rodgers, who was fatally shot in his home on Indianapolis’ northwest side.

Seats had admitted to breaking into Rodgers’ home and shooting him to death, according to court documents, but he surprised Marion County prosecutors when he told the court Feb. 13 — the day he was expected to be sentenced — that he wanted out of his plea agreement.

However, Marion Judge Barbara Crawford denied Seats’ bid to withdraw his guilty plea Thursday, largely citing a jailhouse call during which she said Seats had expressed “buyer’s remorse” for his guilty plea.

“Not for any other reason than he no longer wanted (the deal),” Crawford said, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The judge scheduled Seats’ sentencing for March 12. Crawford’s decision means Seats faces up to 50 years in Rodgers’ killing. Three other co-defendants had previously pleaded guilty in connection with Rodgers’ slaying and have been sentenced.

The 61-year-old Rodgers was the program director emeritus of the emergency medicine residency at the Indiana University School of Medicine and was also the president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

Gov. Eric Holcomb posthumously awarded Rodgers the Sagamore of the Wabash, the state’s highest civilian honor, in May 2018, saying: “His exemplary life will continue to positively impact our state for years to come.”

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