Convicted murderer wants plea tossed

BEDFORD – A convicted murderer is now attempting to get his guilty plea tossed.

John Gerholt, 42, of Mount Union was sentenced to life in prison back in August after an 11th hour plea deal kept Gerholt off death row for the 2008 shotgun slaying of his estranged wife, Karen Gerholt, in the parking lot of an Everett McDonald’s.

Now, Gerholt is claiming his no contest plea should be overturned because he was unaware he would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, something both Gerholt’s attorney Thomas Dickey and Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins dispute.

“It’s not going to get anywhere,” Higgins said Sunday. “This is a guy looking for attention.”

Higgins pointed out that the court went to great lengths to inform Gerholt of the meaning of the plea, that instead of seeking the death penalty the state would agree to life in prison in exchange for the plea. The judge, Higgins and Gerholt’s own attorneys all told Gerholt the consequences of the plea, Higgins said.

Dickey said Sunday that Gerholt knew exactly what was happening when he entered the plea.

“Some of the things he’s alleging are simply innacurate,” Dickey said.

A hearing is slated for this week in Bedford County Court about the request with neither the defense nor prosecution expecting a change in Gerholt’s case.