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Man wants out of plea deal in Taylor murder case

MIAMI -- A man who pleaded guilty to avoid a possible life sentence in the killing of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor now wants to back out of the deal, his attorney said Wednesday.

Venjah Hunte, 21, would have served 29 years in prison under the deal reached last May in exchange for his cooperation with prosecutors. Hunte's attorney, Michael Hornung, said he disagrees with his client's desire to withdraw his guilty plea, and that Hunte will appear in court Thursday in Miami to ask for a new court-appointed lawyer.

"There's a difference in the philosophy going forward," Hornung said. "His desire is to have an attorney appointed so that he can withdraw from his plea."

Hornung wouldn't discuss what led Hunte to change his mind, citing confidentiality rules. Hornung said his recommendation was to take the plea deal rather than the life sentence that Hunte's four co-defendants face if convicted.

"We have irreconcilable differences," Hornung said.

Police said Taylor was a victim of a botched robbery when he was shot in his bedroom on Nov. 26, 2007. in the Miami suburb of Palmetto Bay. He died of massive blood loss one day later. The All-Pro safety was 24 years old.

Also charged in the case are Charles Wardlow, 19; Jason Scott Mitchell, 21; Timmy Lee Brown, 17; and the alleged gunman, Eric Rivera, 19. All have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bail.

The trial has been put off several times and is now scheduled to begin in June.

Prosecutors couldn't immediately be reached for comment on Hunte's situation.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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