IC man changes mind about plea deal, asks for new attorney in robbery, rape trial
An Iowa City man accused in a burglary and rape on the southeast side has changed his mind about taking a plea deal and is now requesting a new attorney.
A plea hearing for Earl Riley, Jr., 29, of the Hawk Ridge Apartments, had been scheduled for next week. But court records show his attorney, Brandon Schrock, asked for a continuance last week. Riley then requested that hearing be cancelled altogether, filing a motion on Monday for new counsel.
Judge Mitchell Turner has now set that hearing for Wednesday while also reinstating trial, setting a start date of Nov. 13.
Riley and Sullivan Smith-Berry, 25, of Hollywood Boulevard, are accused of breaking into an Iowa City apartment late the night of Nov. 3 and holding the three occupants – two men and a woman – hostage with an AR-style rifle. The pair are then accused of kicking and stomping the men while demanding cash.
At some point, police say Smith-Berry gave Riley the rifle and he held the two men hostage while Smith-Berry raped the female in another room. Riley and Smith-Berry then allegedly left with a Playstation 4, cash and other items.
Riley and Smith-Berry are each charged with three counts of 1st Degree Robbery and one count each of 1st Degree Burglary and 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse. If convicted, each man faces up to 125 years in prison.
Smith-Berry’s trial had been scheduled to begin next week but a judge granted a continuance last week, resetting the trial start date for Nov. 27.
Each man remains in jail on $300,000 bond.