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Home-invasion suspect to change plea

A Georgia man who previously claimed he was in California when a Wimer marijuana farm was robbed last December is expected to change his plea Monday.

Derrick Earl Shields, 28, one of eight people accused of the torture and robbery of James Bowman during a home invasion at Bowman's BlueSky Gardens last year, will change his plea Monday afternoon, Jackson County Circuit Court records show. Shields pleaded not guilty in July to nine felonies, including aggravated theft, robbery and assault, court records show.

Shields, listed in court records as having an address in Columbus, Georgia, had been set to stand trial with co-defendant Edward A. Molet. Shields wrote letters to the court from jail claiming he had "a reliable alibi statement," alleging he was with a Susan Muhia of Eureka, California, according to court records.

Molet, Shields and six other suspects are accused of storming Bowman's home wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles masks the night of Dec. 16, tying Bowman up, beating him with a golf club, torturing him with power tools, and loading up a box truck with six figures worth of marijuana. Bowman required hospitalization after the attack.

If Shields changes his plea, he will be the second defendant in the case to do so. Frank William Foremski of Gold Hill was sentenced to probation in April after pleading guilty to felony counts of first-degree burglary and first-degree theft in the case. A single robbery charge is still pending against Foremski.

Molet's next court appearance has been rescheduled for February to allow his court-appointed lawyer time to prepare with the new information, according to a motion filed Dec. 6. Molet has been in jail since June 15, and Shields has been lodged since July 11. Both men are being held on $500,000 bail, with no early release unless they post 10 percent of their bail amount.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Derrick Earl Shields