Gun buyer in San Bernardino attack can't withdraw plea

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A friend of the couple who carried out the 2105 San Bernardino terrorist attack will not be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to a charge of providing material support by buying the rifles used to kill 14 people and wound 22, a federal judge ruled.

The withdrawal attempt by Enrique Marquez, 38, was rejected in a ruling filed Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal, The Press-Enterprise reported Friday.

The Dec. 2, 2015, attack on a gathering of San Bernardino County was carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, who were later killed in a firefight with authorities.

Marquez's effort to withdraw his 2017 plea was the subject of a January hearing in which psychiatrists testified.

The judge wrote in his ruling that Marquez claimed he suffered from depression that caused him to plead guilty because he felt bad that his friend Farook had committed a crime and not because he thought he was guilty.

The judge said that in addition to the psychiatrists' testimony there was evidence indicating Marquez was upbeat and hopeful for the future.

“Because Defendant has failed to prove that he was depressed, he has also failed to prove that his depression made him susceptible to pleading guilty when he knew he was not guilty,'' Bernal wrote. “Accordingly, Defendant has failed to meet his burden to demonstrate there is fair and just reason to allow him to withdraw the Plea.''

In court filings in 2015, authorities said Marquez called 911 after the attack and said his neighbor carried out the shooting using a gun he had given him for storage.

Authorities said the FBI interviewed Marquez between Dec. 6, 2015, and Dec. 16, 2015, and that he waived his right to a lawyer when speaking with agents.

Marquez faces a 25-year prison term when he is sentenced Aug. 17.