Court Briefs

Suspect in burglary takes plea deal

The alleged mastermind behind a local burglary ring last summer took a plea deal Tuesday with hopes to avoid any jail time.

Brent Walker, 49, of Dolores, will be the last of four suspects sentenced in September in connection to multiple burglaries that occurred in Montezuma County starting last summer. They allegedly stole firearms, Native American artifacts and hunting equipment.

As a result of Walker’s plea deal, he will be sentenced for second-degree burglary on Sept. 3. The charge stems from a theft that occurred at a Lewis storage unit on Nov. 17, 2013.

District Attorney Will Furse said he agreed to the plea, saying that Walker had complied with all bond conditions since his arrest. The plea deal would require Walker to serve 24 months of probation

Co-defendants Tara L. Montgomery, 31, and Mark D. Williams, 41, previously accepted plea deals.

The fourth suspect, Joseph Jones, 23, was sentenced on Tuesday to 24 months of probation, ordered to undergo drug and alcohol testing and obtain a GED. He pleaded guilty to providing false information to a pawnbroker.

All four were ordered to pay restitution totaling nearly $24,000.

Hay purchase lands man in court

Greg Jones, 49, of Cortez, is headed to trial in connection with an alleged violation of the Colorado Farm Products Act.

According to court records, Jones wrote a $2,400 check on a closed account to purchase 240 bales of alfalfa hay from a Lewis rancher in December 2011. Total restitution of $2,688 is pending.

In a letter to the court in March, the rancher described Jones as a “predator.”

“It is obvious that Mr. Jones has no compassion for the hard working farming communities in this area,” the victim wrote.

Jones’ next court appearance was set for Aug. 5.

Woman’s theft, forgery hearing delayed

Jessica Olson, 26, of Cortez, had her plea hearing postponed until next month.

Olson is charged in separate cases with forgery, second-degree burglary, criminal mischief and theft.

The forgery case stems from a Jan. 29 incident, in which the defendant allegedly cashed a stolen check for $475. The victim was a 64-year-old Cortez woman.

The remaining charges are in connection to a March 14 home invasion on County Road 33. In that case, Olson is accused of stealing eight antique Kachina dolls valued at $4,000, an air compressor, greenhouse, turkey cooker, necklace and Blu-ray player.

Defendant seeks jailhouse interview

A co-defendant charged in connection to an armed robbery last fall is hopeful that a jailhouse interview could clear his name.

Ivan Martin, 26, of Farmington, N.M., received a 10-year sentence in March, after pleading guilty to second-degree assault with intent to cause serious bodily harm. Public defender Katie Whitney said she hopes Martin will agree to cooperate with her own investigation of the incident in order to help her client, Robert Rodriguez, 39, of Glendale, Ariz.

“My client is innocent,” Whitney told Plewe on Tuesday.

Her request to continue Tuesday’s hearing in order to conduct a jailhouse interview with Martin was granted. Whitney told the court that she didn’t know if Martin would agree to help.

According to court records, Martin told investigators that Rodriguez not only suggested they rob the victim, but Rodriguez was also the triggerman in the Sept. 11, 2013, armed robbery near the Ute Mountain Casino.

The victim was reportedly shot in the right shoulder, and then ejected from a moving vehicle on U.S. 491. He survived.

A trial date for Rodriguez is scheduled for Aug. 18.

Man gets probation in sex case

Ralph Frans, 65, of Cortez, was sentenced to 24 months of probation Tuesday after pleading guilty in March to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful sexual contact that occurred Feb. 10, 2012.

Frans was also ordered to register as a sex offender, undergo sex offender and anger management treatment, a mental health evaluation and to have no contact with children or the victim.

The victim said Frans, whose health is deteriorating, had been held accountable for his crime.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com