Judge hears new evidence in Yanez case

The judge will take time to make a decision after Monday’s all-day evidentiary hearing. Edgar Yanez pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea deal after a crash that killed Paducah Sun delivery driver Ezra Moffett in February 2014.

Yanez and his family hired new attorneys, who asked for the hearing to present new evidence and testimony. Yanez’s legal team says his former attorney, Andrew Coiner, did not give him good legal advice.

Yanez’s new attorney, Tucker Richardson, says he wants Judge Tim Kaltenbach to throw out the guilty plea and have a new trial. His lawyers testified that Former lead attorney Andrew Coiner didn’t investigate the case as he should have, and the entire case should be reviewed.

Edgar Yanez sat and watched silently. His attorney, Tucker Richardson called upon friends, family, attorneys, and experts to call up old memories.

One of the first on the stand was Yanez’s former co-counsel and family friend, Carlos Moran. Moran says Yanez admitted he was the driver, shaping how they proceeded with the case. "He was telling people he did it, but later on said that he didn’t do it," Moran says.

Coiner says he never coerced Yanez to take a guilty plea to protect his mother. When asked if Coiner told Yanez his mom was looking at jail time, Coiner said, "I never made that statement to Edgar or anybody —not in my wildest dreams."

This is despite conflicting with mother Victoria Soto’s testimony through a translator. She said Coiner told Yanez, "If you don’t sign the agreement, your mom is going to go to jail."

Yanez’s new attorney attempted to admit testimony and recorded conversations from Yanez’s high school friends. Kaltenbach told Richardson, "You’re going to bring double hearsay. Why don’t you bring every kid who’s heard a story in here. The rules of evidence apply to this."

Richardson says Yanez deserves a new trial in his closing statement, saying "They (Coiner and Moran) were not prepared, they did not give him effective assistance of counsel."

Moffett’s family watched from the gallery, and did not wish to comment.

Coiner said this was the first time in his 31 years as an attorney he has been accused of ineffective counsel.

If the judge rules that Yanez did not receive effective counsel, he could withdraw Yanez’s guilty plea and try the case all over again. Both the commonwealth and the defense will submit more paperwork in the next five days. The judge will make a decision sometime after that.

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