Man convicted of murder granted new trial six years later

Man convicted of murder granted new trial six years later

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A man convicted of the murder of his wife is getting another chance at justice.

A judge recently granted Charles Dean a new trial because Dean said his attorney gave him bad sentencing advice.

Dean is now back in Horry County and housed at the J Reuben Long Detention Center. He's awaiting a bond hearing that is yet to be set.

After nearly six years behind bars, Dean is once again considered innocent until proven guilty. The new trial comes after a post-conviction relief appeal.

Dean said he pled guilty to slitting his wife's throat and stabbing her because of bad sentencing advice from his then-attorney, Johnny Gardner.

"The applicant testified that prior to his plea, he was under the impression that a 30-year sentence would be an 85 percent sentence and that work credits would be available," the court document stated.

Dean maintained that Gardner did not tell him that a 30-year sentence for murder would be day-for-day.

"He stated that if he had known prior to the plea that a 30-year sentence was day-for-sentence, he would have taken his chances and gone to trial," the appeal stated.

Gardner did not return calls seeking comment, but admitted his mistake in an appeal document, which stated, "He felt he made a mistake by not taking the case to trial."

In the appeal, Gardner maintained Dean made his own choice to enter the plea.

"We were prepared to try it one time, and we'll be prepared to try it again," said Jimmy Richardson, 15th Circuit Solicitor. "It shouldn't take us long to get back up on this case."

Richardson said this scenario is rare, but is part of the process. Convictions are almost always upheld.

He said the one downside is the strain on the families involved.

"It's tough because you have to recreate what it was in 2007. I think a bigger problem is for the victims, the families that were affected. Now, (they) have to go through it again," said Richardson.

On Friday, WMBF reporters went to Dean's old property and spoke to his daughter, who called the police on him seven years ago.

She said she will wait to comment until after Dean's upcoming bond hearing.

As for repercussions for Dean's former attorney, Richardson said that's up to Dean, if the conviction is overturned.

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