After Pleading Guilty In Slaying, He Demurs

After Pleading Guilty

In Slaying, He Demurs

Underwood Claims Poor Representation

Joshua Underwood is led into Otsego County Court this morning by Deputy Leigh Prostak. (Parker Fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Appearing in Otsego County Court today, Joshua Underwood, 26, withdrew his guilty plea in the New Year’s Day slaying of Mark Morrison, 52, in a downtown Oneonta apartment.

He appeared before county Judge Brian Burns, who read his statement into the record that claimed inadequate representation from Otsego County Public Defender Bruce Maxson, and asked for a new lawyer.

Underwood is being held in Otsego County jail after pleading guilty to first-degree murder on Nov. 14 as part of an agreement that included a 20-year prison term.

Today’s appearance was supposed to be a sentencing hearing in accordance with the plea deal.

In the statement read by Judge Burns, Underwood said the public defender coerced him into entering a guilty plea, refused to meet with him on specific occasions, and did not return his calls.

The judge relieved Maxson of serving in the case, and court was adjourned until a new lawyer is found.

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