CROWN POINT | In a rare move, Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. on Tuesday agreed to a request by a Gary man to withdraw his plea in a murder case.
Maurice Beckham, 30, was expected to be sentenced Tuesday in the fatal shooting of Dominique Greenlaw, 25, of Griffith, in November 2011.
The plea deal Beckham had entered into in September called for his potential sentence to be capped at 55 years when sentencing was argued.
Instead, Beckham, whom doctors in a court-ordered evaluation had found to be suffering from schizoaffective disorder, told the judge he wanted withdraw his plea of guilty but mentally ill.
Stefaniak, faced with doctors having found Beckham mentally ill yet competent to stand trial, opted to grant Beckham's request, setting a trial date of April 22.
Beckham is accused of fatally shooting Greenlaw, a friend of his, while sitting behind him in Greenlaw's car in Gary.
Beckham's family told police he was diagnosed with schizophrenia about 10 years ago, according to court records.
The court-ordered evaluation later confirmed Beckham to be mentally ill.