A man serving life in prison for killing his longtime girlfriend wants to take back his guilty plea and sentence
, claiming in court on Monday that he was hearing voices when he gunned her down
Craig Leron Flynt
, 40, pleaded no contest to the August 2008 killing of Kyishi Dowdell, 31, as she screamed for help outside her home on Maley Street. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Dowdell, who was involved with Flynt for 12 years and had four of his five children, died from a final gunshot wound to the head just as police responded to the scene
Flynt claimed in his Monday hearing he was forced into the plea
that led to his life sentence, and that an insanity defense was not explored. He said in court for the first time he "heard voices" when he shot Dowdell
, prosecutors said.
Circuit Judge Patrick Kennedy listened, but denied Flynt's request
When Flynt was in Kennedy's courtroom in October 2008, he apologized to the Dowdell family and his own when he pleaded to the first-degree murder charge in exchange for a life sentence.
Flynt said he wished he "could go back and change the outcome." Nearly two years later, Flynt tried to take his plea and sentence back.
Representing himself in court during the two-hour hearing Monday, prosecutors said Flynt -- the son of Daytona Beach police investigator and spokesman Jimmie Flynt -- argued he was denied his right to go to trial because Assistant Public Defender Matt Phillips "coerced and threatened him" to plead to the charge.
Craig Flynt said in court documents Phillips told him he would get the death penalty if he didn't plead no contest and take the life sentence.
Assistant State Attorney Rosemary Calhoun argued against Flynt's request. She said Flynt claimed he was medicated while awaiting trial at the Volusia County Branch Jail and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
But, Calhoun added, Flynt presented no proof of such a diagnosis.
Calhoun showed the judge a letter from Dr. Harry Krop, a psychiatrist who had provided an opinion that Flynt was competent to stand trial.
In the letter, Krop said Flynt did not "present evidence of a thought disorder" and "has no psychiatric history."
In addition to finding Flynt competent to proceed, Krop said he saw "no current evidence to suggest the use of an insanity defense."