Man convicted of manslaughter pushes to change guilty plea

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 22, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Updated Friday, May 23 at 5:16 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A man convicted of manslaughter for the death of his pregnant girlfriend is filled with regret after taking a plea deal. He is now looking to change his plea.

John Lipinski was convicted of pushing his pregnant girlfriend out of a moving car nearly a decade ago.

A technicality earned him a new trial in February 2014. The new trial resulted in a mistrial after the jury could not come to a decision. Then, Lipinski was offered a deal.

He pled guilty to manslaughter and got out of jail immediately for time served. He took the deal but he said he feels awful about it.

Lipinski said he loved the woman he is accused of murdering dearly. He said he thinks about her and their unborn daughter every day.

He said he never really got to mourn them because he was immediately fighting to clear his name.

READ: Man convicted of killing his pregnant girlfriend speaks out about new trial

Lipinski spent all his adult life in jail accused of murdering Mellissa Saldavar and their unborn daughter. Detectives believe he threw her from a moving car after a fight.

“There was an argument. She got out of the car. I put her back in the car and took her to the hospital,” said Lipinski.

Lipinski was convicted of the crime as a teen. An error in the jury selection process landed him a new trial. The jury could not reach a unanimous decision but they did favor him 11-1.

He said he took the plea deal because juries are unpredictable. He said the keys to his freedom were dangling in front of his face and he caved to the pressure to be free.

He said now that he is a free man he is filled with regret. He is trying to take it back.

“I’m in the process of trying to pull my plea,” said Lipinski.

Lipinski said he took the deal because he was under the impression he could start over. He wanted to move to be with family but he claims the Department of Corrections will not let him leave until he is off their supervision.

He said he is stuck in a town where people think he is a killer.

Guenthner: “You are actually willing to go back to prison to clear your name?”
Lipinski: “Yes ma’am.”

Guenthner: “Some people are going to call you crazy. Why would you do that?”
Lipinski: “Well looking at what people are saying, I mean just be judged like this for something I didn’t do.”

Lipinski said he is not sure how this next chapter will play out for him in a Spokane County courtroom but he said his faith in the process is gone.

Lipinski said he is grateful for all the fighting his defense team has done for him.

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