Carjacking defendant seeks new lawyer, wants to withdraw plea

Ryan Soqui
Ryan Soqui

A Grover Beach man convicted of kidnapping a Cal Poly student during a carjacking is now seeking a new attorney so he can change his plea.

Ryan Joseph Soqui, 23, was in Superior Court this morning for sentencing. But he requested a new attorney so he can enter a different plea, and for that reason, the sentencing was put off.

Soqui entered a no-contest plea in September to three charges related to the carjacking. A no-contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt. He faces up to 17 years in state prison.

Cal Poly student Yi Tak Choi was on her way to study at the campus library on Nov. 4, 2009, when Soqui knocked on the window of her 2000 Audi. When she rolled it down to see what he wanted, he jumped in the car and pointed a gun at her.

Soqui initially had a yellow scarf around his neck, which he pulled up to cover his mouth and nose while they rode in the car, Choi testified.

He ordered her to drive south on Highway 101, eventually taking control of the car and driving to Wells Fargo Bank on Foothill Boulevard, she said during testimony in an earlier court hearing.

Choi testified that after Soqui initially pointed the gun at her, he said, "Don't do anything stupid or else." She later learned he was holding a fake gun.

Choi testified that Soqui took $200 from her wallet and ordered her to use her ATM card to withdraw $300 from Wells Fargo Bank.