Page: B5
Date: Friday, December 22, 2000


KIM MARTINEAU Staff writer

     An Albany man accused of beating a man to death while wearing brass knuckles has asked for permission to withdraw his guilty plea to manslaughter so he can plead to a similar offense that will knock a year off his potential sentence. Andrick Nesbeth, 23, of Dana Avenue pleaded guilty in August to second-degree manslaughter and drug possession, both felonies, rather than face trial for murder and burglary. Nesbeth is accused in the beating death of an alleged drug user, Lamont Thomas, after Thomas stole a secret cache of drugs belonging to Nesbeth and his cohorts, according to prosecutors. The man who rang the doorbell and served as a lookout, while Nesbeth and another man allegedly beat Thomas and left him naked and unconscious in his Dana Avenue apartment, was convicted of manslaughter in July. The lookout, Griffith Browne, was sentenced two weeks ago to 17 1/2 years.      Acting state Supreme Court Justice Dan Lamont sentenced Browne after ruling that an incident of juror misconduct during Browne's trial did not entitle Browne to a new trial. While Lamont faulted two jurors for sneaking out of their hotel room on the eve of convicting Browne of manslaughter, the mistake did not taint the jury's verdict, he ruled.

     Under Nesbeth's current plea bargain, he faces between six and 18 years in prison. By changing his plea to attempted first-degree manslaughter, Nesbeth's minimum time in prison would be five years, said his attorney Randall Kehoe.      Judge Larry Rosen will decide in January whether to allow Nesbeth to withdraw his earlier plea. Nesbeth once did maintenance work for Park Row Apartments.

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