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Published: Tuesday, 12/7/2004

Woman asks for new lawyer after admitting guilt in murder

DEFIANCE - A woman accused of killing her mother asked the Defiance County Common Pleas Court yesterday for a new attorney and indicated she wants her case reopened.

Erica Orta, 24, appeared in court for sentencing on the charge of murder, to which she pleaded guilty last month, said Stephen Archer, her court-appointed attorney until yesterday. However, Ms. Orta indicated to Judge Joseph Schmenk that she wanted a different lawyer, effectively putting off the sentencing until a new attorney can review her case.

The judge gave Mr. Archer leave to withdraw from Ms. Orta's case, which he did. The judge can decide not to reopen the case, Mr. Archer added.

Ms. Orta pleaded guilty to murdering her mother, Diana Acton, 48, in late August. A plea arrangement rolled into that one charge the other original charges against Ms. Orta - aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, theft, grand theft auto, and tampering with a corpse, Mr. Archer said.

Another court appearance for Ms. Orta was set for 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Defiance County court administrator said.

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