Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Roger Bettis (WRDW-TV)
RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled a North Augusta man convicted of attacking and attempting to rape an elderly woman in 2009 should get a new trial.
Roger Bettis appealed that a Richmond County judge should've allowed him to represent himself during his trial. The judge at the time said it was best for Bettis to be represented by an attorney who is trained.
The Court of Appeals wrote in their decision, "While we might agree with the trial court’s opinion, whether it was best for Bettis to be represented by an attorney was of no consequence. The test of whether a defendant has validly waived is right to be represented by counsel 'is not whether the accused is capable of good lawyering - but whether he knowingly and intelligently waives his right to counsel.'"
The court also ruled that evidence at trial was sufficient to find Bettis guilty, so the state may retry him on two counts of aggravated assault and on criminal attempt to commit rape, kidnapping, and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.
Bettis was found guilty of choking and beating a 63-year-old woman in a hospital bathroom stall. The victim had been at the Georgia Regents Medical Center visiting her dying husband. Bettis had been out of prison for two days when the attack happened.