• Last modified 853 days ago (Dec. 22, 2016)


Rape case plea and lawyer out?

Staff writer

A Peabody man who earlier pleaded guilty to raping a child under 14 now wants out of his plea agreement and his lawyer wants off the case.

Former Peabody-Burns High School student Malachi Lee Hunsucker, charged with multiple counts of rape and criminal sodomy involving a child younger than 14, on Oct. 20 made a plea agreement that would have dismissed most of the charges in that case and two additional cases, resulting in a reduced sentence on a single count of rape.

He was scheduled to be sentenced today. Instead, District Judge Michael Powers will consider Hunsucker’s request to withdraw his plea, as well as his lawyer’s request to withdraw from the case.

Newton attorney Donald Snapp wrote in the motion to withdraw Hunsucker’s plea, filed Dec. 13, that Hunsucker believed Snapp allowed him to be coerced into the plea agreement.

In Snapp’s motion to withdraw from representing Hunsucker, filed the same day, he wrote that he is now a potential witness for both Hunsucker and the prosecution.

Snapp has represented Hunsucker since March 14, after Hunsucker’s first lawyer, Gary Price, withdrew.

On Dec. 6, Powers ruled that Price should be paid more than the standard rate for his own work on Hunsucker’s behalf. Powers’ ruling shows extensive plea negotiations took place, and Hunsucker and his family were characterized as difficult to work with, making numerous contacts with Price. Hunsucker had to be evaluated to see if he was competent to stand trial, the ruling reads.

Court records show that Hunsucker was 18 when charges were filed over an incident that allegedly happened in January 2015.

Hunsucker was also charged in Harvey County with two counts of rape and three counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, also with the same victim. Those charges would have been dismissed with the plea agreement.

Last modified Dec. 22, 2016