Rapper Turk has withdrawn his guilty plea for an attempted murder charge relating to a police shootout in 2004. The former Hot Boys member, real name Tab Virgil, was given permission to change his plea on Thursday (21Feb08) by a Tennessee appeals court, which ruled the hip-hop star had entered his plea for the second-degree charge without the full knowledge and understanding of what he was admitting to. Virgil is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence - reduced from the original 12-year term - for allegedly shooting SWAT team member Deputy Chris Harris four times during a raid in Memphis, Tennessee on 26 January 2004. He initially faced 25 years behind bars on a first-degree murder charge, but that was decreased to a second degree charge after he reached an Alford plea, also known as a "best interest plea", with prosecutors. However, he reportedly misunderstood the deal and thought pleading guilty would entitle him to an agreed sentence, after being convicted at his 2005 trial. The rapper was also under the understanding that he would serve his time in a federal prison, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons rejected his attorney's application for the move. Virgil then tried to withdraw his guilty plea as a result of the application denial, but his petition was turned down and no explanation was given. But the appeals court has now ruled the petition to change his plea should have been granted. According to local paper The Commercial Appeal, Judge J.C. MClin stated the rapper was allowed to withdraw his plea because it was "not knowingly, voluntarily, and understandingly entered, and that the pleas were entered through a misunderstanding as to their effects".
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