PAW PAW — The Hartford man that was granted a new trial by the Michigan Supreme Court has forgone a new trial and pleaded guilty. 

Jose L. Garcia-Mandujano, 24, appeared in Van Buren County Circuit Court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13. 

This is what he had originally been charged and found guilty on, but the plea agreement included dropping the 25-year minimum in prison on that charge, according to the prosecutor’s office. 

After a three-day jury trial in September 2014, Garcia-Mandujano was found guilty on two counts of criminal sexual conduct against a girl when she was in fourth through seventh grades. She was 13 and in eighth grade when she told a friend about the conduct, who then told a school counselor, who involved Child Protective Services and police.

Later, the prosecution dismissed one of the counts. In October 2014, Judge Kathleen Brickley sentenced Garcia-Mandujano to 25-38 years in prison.

Garcia-Mandujano started his appeal process in 2015 when he requested a Ginther Hearing, a hearing on a motion for a new trial claiming the defendant received ineffective assistance of counsel.

The Van Buren County court denied Garcia-Mandujano’s motion for a new trial in July 2015 after hearing witness testimony, including that of his lawyer Larry Margolis.

He appealed this decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which also denied his request for a new trial. He further appealed the appeals court decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, still on the grounds that Margolis was ineffective.

On April 5 the Michigan Supreme Court granted the appeal, and sent the case back to Van Buren County Circuit Court for a new trial. 

Garcia-Mandujano was transfered from prison to the Van Buren County Jail where he remains on no bond. He is set to be sentenced at 1 p.m. May 14.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman