Suspect in 1992 Christy Mirack rape, homicide wants to withdraw guilty plea

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Raymond Rowe, known as DJ Freez was in Lancaster County Court Thursday for a hearing saying he wants to withdraw his guilty plea.

abc27 News exchange partner LNP reports he told a judge he had consensual sex with Christy Mirack and that someone else killed her. He also said his attorneys pressured him into pleading guilty with the threat of the death penalty and the DNA evidence.

But it was not the first time he’s tried to save himself from life in prison. He’s already filed two briefs in superior court, two appeals in the Pa. Supreme Court and submitted a presidential clemency request on behalf of an ex-soldier.

Now he’s trying to the post-conviction relief petition.

“They are rarely successful,” Criminal Defense Attorney Tim Barrouk said, who’s not involved in Rowe’s case. “It’s limited in what you can raise generally. You see ineffective assistance of counsel or after discovered evidence, some evidence that wasn’t available at the time of trial. Occasionally you will see it is alleged that a plea was unlawfully induced.”

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Decades later, DNA evidence from the crime scene nearly matched one of Rowe’s relatives who shared the information on a genealogy website.

And if Rowe wins?

“It can go back for a new trial,” Barrouk said.

As soon as next Thursday, the question of whether his petition will be approved will be answered when the hearing resumes at the Lancaster County Courthouse.

Rowe is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole plus 60 to 120 years for other crimes.

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