A Buffalo man who said his defense lawyer coerced him into pleading guilty last fall to killing his wife succeeded today in adjourning his sentencing a second time. Antoine Mattox now has time to hire another lawyer – his fourth in the case.
In granting the week-long adjournment, Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio warned Mattox, 32, that he should return to court with a new lawyer and the paperwork seeking to withdraw his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter.
Mattox, 32, accepted a plea deal in October in the March 11 slaying of Nedra E. Thomas-Mattox, 38, whom he is accused of beating to death with his fists, a piece of iron and by kicking her.
When DiTullio asked Mattox his intentions, he said, “I want to hire a new attorney.”
“You have that right, but let me tell you...this is not going to go on forever,” DiTullio said. “You better be here with that lawyer.”
Brian K. Parker, Mattox’s third assigned counsel, told DiTullio his client met with family over the weekend. They plan to hire an attorney to represent him.
“He told me that his family is going to try and scrape together money to hire an attorney,” Parker said, adding he met twice last week with Mattox for extended periods at the Erie County Holding Center, where the defendant is being detained.
As a precaution, the judge kept Parker on the case, which is now scheduled for 10 a.m. next Thursday.
Assistant District Attorney Gary W. Hackbush said Mattox has had three attorneys: Parker, Joseph Terranova and E. Carey Cantwell.
DiTullio added that Parker is “a very experienced” trial lawyer. Under the manslaughter plea deal, Mattox would face up to 25 years in prison.
Mattox was originally charged with second-degree murder in the death of Thomas-Mattox, his wife of 10 years. He was arrested at a Rochester bus terminal hours after the couple’s landlord found her body in their Kensington-Bailey neighborhood home. Police believe he was returning to Virginia, where the couple once lived and where he has relatives.