- Associated Press - Friday, July 15, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday upheld the conviction of a Lincoln man sentenced to up to 50 years for a fatal home invasion, suggesting new evidence he wanted to present in his case was flimsy.

Joshua Carr, 21, was sentenced in September to 33 to 50 years in prison after pleading no contest to manslaughter, attempted robbery and a weapons charge in the 2014 shooting death of 21-year-old Maurice Williams.

A no-contest plea is one in which the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge but still is subjected to a conviction.

Carr had sought to withdraw his no-contest plea based on new evidence: A witness told police that Carr’s co-defendant showed up at his apartment with blood on his shirt and made incriminating statements.

But prosecutors argued that what the witness saw was related to a different shooting that occurred a week after the killing of Williams. A Lancaster County District Court judge denied Carr’s motion and proceeded with sentencing.

Carr appealed, and the state’s high court on Friday upheld the trial court’s decision to not allow Carr to withdraw his plea. The high court found that the lower court did not abuse its discretion in determining that Carr failed to show the new evidence would likely clear him.

Carr’s attorney, Sarah Newell with the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, said Friday she had not had a chance to speak to her client about the decision. Carr has little recourse on his claims at this point, “unless new evidence comes forward,” Newell said.

The Nebraska attorney general’s office, which defended Carr’s appeal, did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.

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