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Man who killed 3 in OWI crash seeks to withdraw guilty pleas

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Dunn County (WQOW) - A man sentenced to 75 years in prison after killing three people two years ago while driving intoxicated is looking to withdraw his guilty pleas.

Kundilovski, who is fluent in Russian and speaks broken English, argues he should be able to withdraw his guilty pleas because he didn't understand the consequences of accepting a plea agreement.

That is according to a postconviction motion his defense attorney Catherine Malchow filed in September.

Back in July 2017, Kundilovski was driving the wrong direction on Interstate 94 about nine miles west of Menomonie when he hit an oncoming Kia Soul nearly head-on, killing the driver and two other passengers all from Minneapolis.

Kundilovski agreed to a plea deal in November 2017, telling Dunn County Judge James Peterson he "understood everything" before entering guilty pleas on three counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

Kundilovski said although there was a Russian interpreter at his court hearings there was no interpreter during his attorney-client meetings.

In the postconviction motion, his attorney at the time Scott Scglough said he communicated with him in those meetings with Google Translate.

Also in the motion, Kundilovski argued that at the time he thought his attorney said if he entered the plea agreement he could expect a three-to-seven-year sentence, instead of the 75 years he actually received.

In court documents, Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Kyle Devries said he interviewed Kundilovski in 2017 with a Russian interpreter but he answered some questions without waiting for the interpreter.

In order to get his pleas withdrawn, a local attorney said Kundilovski has to show with clear and convincing evidence that there was a manifest injustice.

"What that means is he's arguing his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel because he could not understand his lawyer during the times that they met prior to being in court with an interpreter," said criminal defense attorney Matthew Krische.

If the judge accepts there was a manifest injustice, Krische said new negotiations and even a trial could be back on the table.

Kundilovski is scheduled to testify on his postconviction motion in Dunn County Court on January 30.

Dunn County Court has until February 10 to rule on Kundilovski's motion.

Stephen Kelley

Stephen Kelley joined the News 18 team in August 2006. He is currently the Executive Producer.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim joined the News 18 team in August 2019 as a multimedia journalist. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey but has lived in all time zones of the contiguous U.S.A.

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