JAY – A Grove man has pleaded guilty to the shooting of a Delaware County Deputy and will rely on the discretion of the court regarding his sentence.

On Feb. 26, Jeremy Ray James, 32, withdrew his plea of not guilty and entered into a blind plea, according to court documents filed in the district court clerk’s office.

A blind plea is a guilty plea made when a defendant has not entered a plea agreement and does not know the punishment the judge will impose. In essence, James is throwing himself on the mercy of the court.

A blind plea does not guarantee leniency from the judge.

It means that James is abandoning all defenses, including a conviction on a lesser offense that carries a less severe penalty.

His attorney, and the attorney for the defense, will be able to make recommendations about his sentence, and the victim will be able to tell the judge how the crime impacted him and James will have an opportunity to tell his side of the story.

James will be required to serve a minimum of 85 percent of his sentence.

On Oct. 26, 2008, James withdrew a previous plea agreement with the state, claiming he didn’t know he had to register as a violent offender as part of that agreement.

At that time he was returned from the department of corrections to Delaware County.

Originally James pled guilty to shooting with intent to kill and received a 20-year sentence, 10 of which he would have served with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and 10 of which he would have served under the supervision of the state’s Probation and Parole Department. James would have served 85% of the 10 years before he would be eligible for release.

He would have also been required to pay $10,000 in restitution, and $1,500 in fines.

Upon his release, he would have been required to register under the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act for his lifetime. Under the act, he would have been required to register every 90 days.

On June 14, Deputy Steve Brownell, was shot with a .22 caliber rifle, sustaining injuries to his upper arm, when he and officers Rick Pike and Matt North responded to the Butler Church area after James called 911 and reported that two people were walking around in the area, and were “going in and out of buildings with rifles.”

James claimed that he did not know that Brownell was a law enforcement officer.

He was reported to have been under the influence of an intoxicating substance, according to authorities.

James will appear before Judge Barry Denney on May 6 at 9 a.m. for formal sentencing after a pre-sentencing investigation report has been submitted to the court by April 28.