Dukes wants lesser sentence for stabbing death

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

VIDALIA — A Natchez man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February is asking the court to give him a lesser sentence.

Ricardo Dukes was sentenced in May to 25 years hard labor for the April 2008 stabbing death of 51-year-old Vidalian Frank Holmes.

Dukes has since filed a motion to reconsider his sentence, and the motion is on the docket for the Seventh Judicial District Court Division A to consider today.

The director of the public defender’s office, Derrick Carson, said the defendant had filed the motion himself from prison. Carson acted as Dukes’ legal counsel through sentencing.

“I don’t know if they are going to grant him a hearing or not, and I think he has already filed one before that was denied,” Carson said.

“If he comes in (today) and tells us he wants to have this hearing on his own, then he will have it on his own, but if he wants to proceed for us, we will take it up.”

Things Dukes has asked the court to consider include that he is a first-time offender, Carson said.

While Dukes waived his right to appeal the manslaughter conviction when he pleaded guilty, he still has the right to appeal the sentence.

However, before it can be taken to the appellate level, Carson said the defendant has to ask the court that handed down the original sentence to reconsider it.

“This could just be the first step in him appealing the sentence,” Carson said.

Dukes was arrested in April 2008 after a fight between himself and Holmes escalated to the point of the stabbing.

At the sentencing, it was revealed that Holmes had two knives on his person, but they were in his pocket and unopened.

When handing down the sentence, Judge Glen Strong said he took into consideration the factors that alcohol and narcotics had been consumed at the residence prior to the altercation.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter is 40 years.