Accused killer Gregory Elarms was sentenced to four years in jail Tuesday for concealing weapons while in custody for allegedly shooting an East Palo Alto activist in 2010.
Elarms, 60, in red jail clothes and handcuffs, briefly spoke that morning as the court considered a motion to withdraw his pleas of no contest to three felony counts of possessing sharpened objects in jail.
Elarms, who was previously found incompetent to stand trial for murder and spent several months at Atascadero State Hospital, said he "wasn't aware" that the pleas could be used against him.
"I'm not really sure what that means," San Mateo County Judge Craig Parsons said.
Elarms had consistently indicated that his defense attorney, Jonathan McDougall, had not done a fair job representing him, and attempted to use that opinion as further grounds to have his pleas withdrawn, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
Parsons denied the motion to withdraw and proceeded with sentencing.
Deputy District Attorney Ivan Nightengale argued that when Elarms was found in possession of a sharpened toothbrush, a sharpened "spork" and two pencils tied together in February 2011, he had greased the floor of his cell with egg and lotion to "gain an advantage" against jail deputies in a potential confrontation.
Elarms posed "a great danger to jail staff" while in custody awaiting a trial for the June 2010 murder of activist David Lewis, Nightengale said.
A judge in January dismissed that murder charge after ruling that a confession obtained by San Mateo detectives prior to Elarms' arrest was in violation of his Miranda rights, Wagstaffe said.
That decision has been appealed by the district attorney's office, a process that could take 12 to 18 months.
Elarms has since remained in San Mateo County Jail awaiting sentencing for the weapons charges, which carry a maximum sentence of four years.
He was briefly released between Feb. 5 and Feb. 26, when the defense and the court mistakenly calculated that Elarms had already served a sentence beyond what his maximum term would be, when adding actual time served with statutory credits for good behavior or work time.
Parsons admitted the mistake at Tuesday morning's sentencing, but said that the court had since corrected the miscalculation.
The judge sentenced Elarms to four years in jail, leaving at least five months to serve.
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