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Man charged with assault after bragging on Twitter, back in court

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Dec 11 2013 08:07:43 PM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

The 18-year-old Chico man accused of punching another man in the face and then bragging about it on Twitter may try to change his plea from no contest to not guilty.
     
21-year-old Daniel Chesterman came to Chico from the Bay Area to visit his sister Kristina in February.  He was sucker punched and badly injured.
 
The suspect, 19-year-old Rodney Freeman, was arrested and was supposed to be sentenced later this month.

Tuesday in court Freeman hired a new lawyer and now they are exploring the option of changing his plea.
     
Freeman tweeted, "I literally collapsed half of someone's face last night #newsoftheday" hours after he attacked Chesterman.
     
Police initially ruled the case mutual combat, but after we brought the tweet to investigators Freeman was arrested.
    
According to court records Freeman fired his private attorney for not providing enough information for him to enter a proper plea.
    
His new attorney, a public defender, has requested a transcript of Freeman's plea.
      
A motion has not yet been filed with the judge.

"It's unusual but not rare for someone to have what they call "buyer's remorse" after they entered a plea," said Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.  "Basically, a no contest plea is a guilty plea for all intents and purposes.  When they are ready to be sentenced sometimes they say well maybe because of the punishment I'm looking at I now want to take that plea back."

Ramsey also said it's extremely rare for a judge to allow this request.  Freeman faces up to three years in state prison.

Freeman is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 29, but if a motion for a new plea is made before then it will likely be heard on that day.