Man wants to withdraw guilty plea in murder case
BY RUTH ANN KRAUSE Post-Tribune correspondent September 7, 2013 10:42AM
Cadereo Jester. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 9, 2013 7:48PM
Cadereo Jester had admitted in court that he had killed Christine Arnold.
So Arnold’s relatives were ready for his sentencing hearing Friday in Lake Superior Court.
They wanted to tell the court how her death had affected them.
But instead, they left the courtroom visibly upset after Jester indicated he wanted to withdraw his plea agreement.
Defense attorney Karen Coulis said she will file a motion to set aside the plea agreement and deputy prosecutor Michael Woods said he will object to the agreement being withdrawn.
Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez said he would rule on the request on Sept. 27. If the motion is denied, the sentencing hearing will go forward that morning.
About five weeks ago, Jester admitted he killed Christine Arnold following a dispute on July 18, 2011, in the 300 block of Hovey Street in Gary, then disposed of her body and car in the Ivanhoe Nature Conservancy. Arnold was 23.
Jester’s plea agreement outlined a 45-year sentence for murder, which is the minimum.
While Vasquez was questioning Jester during his change of plea hearing on July 31, Jester paused several times before answering. At that hearing, Coulis told the judge her client was remorseful, didn’t want to put the victim’s family through a jury trial and wanted to go forward with his admission of guilt.
On the evening of July 18, 2011, Gary police found a red Mercedes-Benz 300E crashed through the Nature Conservancy fence near 4th Avenue and Hamlin Street in Gary. The car was still running with the driver’s side door open. Arnold’s body was in the back seat.
An autopsy showed Arnold suffered traumatic head injuries from blunt force trauma and a fracture of the cervical spine caused by strangulation. She also was stabbed in the left arm and had multiple bruises and scrapes over her extremities.
Police identified Jester through a hit in the DNA database from blood found on a piece of glass in the car.
Jester, an admitted drug dealer in Michigan City, confessed to an investigator with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources that he killed Arnold, who owed him $65, the probable cause affidavit states. The two fought outside an abandoned home at 324 Hovey Street for about 20 minutes, and Jester stabbed Arnold with a piece of glass before putting her in her car and driving through the nature conservancy gate, court records state.