Woman seeks new trial in 2015 Portage murder

Posted at 8:42 AM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 08:42:50-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A woman who pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the 2015 southwestern Michigan killing of a woman who was dating her ex-boyfriend wants a new trial.

Theresa Petto entered the plea after several days of her murder trial in the shooting death of Rachel Drafta, then 25, in the Kalamazoo-area community of Portage. Petto, now 47, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but she later sought to withdraw her plea.

A motion hearing is Jan. 24.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports an appellate lawyer for Petto argued that her trial lawyer used false information to persuade her to enter the plea by telling her she would only get treatment for mental health services if she did so. Petto says she otherwise would have let her trial continue.