A Wilson man entered a plea agreement in an alleged February kidnapping and robbery in Ellis County, despite his co-defendant filing a motion to withdraw his own plea agreement.
Jeremy David Schulmeister, 33, pleaded no contest Friday in Ellis County District Court to charges of felony aggravated robbery and felony aggravated battery in the alleged kidnapping. He and stepson Tanner Lee Cullens, 21, of Wilson, were accused of driving a 20-year-old acquaintance of Cullens’ outside of Hays and robbing him at gunpoint of $1,800 cash, an iPhone, Air Jordan shoes and hat, and a Nike hoodie, then ordering him out of the car. The man ran in his socks, sweat pants and a T-shirt more than a mile toward town in temperatures less than 10 degrees until a passing driver stopped to pick him up.
In June, Cullens pleaded no contest to aggravated robbery, aggravated intimidation of a witness and aggravated battery, all felonies. Those charges were amended to remove the use of a firearm, which dropped special sentencing rules that would have carried a presumptive prison sentence. Charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery were also dismissed in the plea.
In return, Cullens gave sworn testimony about his and Schulmeister’s alleged roles in the crime.
However, on July 15, Cullens filed handwritten motions to withdraw his plea on grounds of ineffective counsel and dismiss his original attorney, Cheryl A. Stewart, from the case.
Cullen’s motions allege he was never given a copy of discovery materials and that Stewart deliberately withheld discovery from him even after requesting it and that he was never properly informed of his options regarding plea and secondary sentencing options. He also wrote he felt a “distinct distrust” in his relationship with Stewart due to her prior history as a prosecuting attorney.
Cullens is now represented by Hays attorney Alex Herrman. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 9.
Friday, Judge Glenn Braun asked Schulmeister if he was sure he still wanted to enter his pleas even though Cullens was requesting to withdraw his plea. Schulmeister said he was.
Cullens also entered a no contest plea to reckless aggravated battery in another case in which he was accused of punching another inmate in the Ellis County Jail.
In that case, according to the arrest affidavit read by Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees, an inmate was playing cards with Schulmeister when Schulmeister, unprovoked, “sucker punched” the other inmate in the face, then stood over him and delivered another 12 blows. The man’s nose was broken. The attack was caught on video.
Sentencing for Schulmeister is scheduled for Aug. 26. The sentencing recommended in the plea agreement is a consecutive 102 months in prison for the aggravated robbery and 12 months for the aggravated battery in the kidnapping case.
In the reckless aggravated battery in the jail case, the recommended sentence is 21 months. The state will argue for the sentences in the two cases to be served consecutively, giving him 135 months in prison.
Restitution is likely for damage to the victim’s phone and clothing in the kidnapping case and to the sheriff’s department for medical expenses in the jail case.