OXFORD – An Amory man accused of using the Internet to entice a minor female for sex will be allowed to withdraw a guilty plea he entered July 8.
Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers agreed to Christopher Pickle’s motion filed by his new attorney, Chris Kitchens of Ripley.
Biggers notes that Pickle’s plea was “only conditionally accepted” by the court while he was represented by a federal public defender, that the man’s family hired Kitchens, a private practice lawyer, and asked that his plea be withdrawn.
“The motion should be allowed and granted,” Biggers ordered, writing that the case will be set for trial.
Kitchens insists that Pickle, 31, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and emotional distress after the death of his father, a divorce and custody loss of his son.
The motion to withdraw his plea included notes from a mental health consultant, who recommended inpatient treatment in 2012 to address problems with drugs.
It also shows that he was deployed once to Iraq with the National Guard.
Pickle is one of at least a dozen men snared by a Lee County Sheriff’s Office string operation using a trained deputy who pretends to be a teenage female online. Most of the defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison.
He is the second to challenge the charge, claiming entrapment.