Crime spree suspect reaches plea deal
Nathan Morse, one of eight local men accused of participating in a recent crime spree in the Aspen area, has reached a plea bargain with the local district attorney’s office.
And suspect Yuri Ognacevic, 18, is also likely to accept a plea bargain, according to testimony from his attorney. But whether or not that deal will be accepted will not be known until Ognacevic’s next court appearance, on Nov. 29.
Morse, 18, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary, a felony, in District Court. In return for the plea, five original charges against Morse will be dropped.
An official at the district attorney’s office said the DA will not comment on pending plea bargains, and Ognacevic’s lawyer, Fred Gannett, could not be reached for comment.
The charges stem from a series of crimes allegedly involving Morse and a group of other local teenagers in August and September.
According to the plea agreement announced Monday, Morse is facing a maximum of 12 years in prison and a fine of anywhere from $2,000 to $500,000, if the crime is found to involve “aggravating circumstances.”
It is also possible that Morse will be sentenced to probation, which also could involve a jail term of up to 90 days.
Morse will be sentenced Dec. 13 by Judge J.E. DeVilbiss.
Two other defendants who appeared in court Monday in connection with the crimes had their cases continued to Nov. 29. On that day, Judge DeVilbiss will hold preliminary hearings to determine whether police have enough evidence to warrant further prosecution of Jacob Richards, 18, and Anthony Rizzuto, 19.
Morse, Richards and Rizzuto are all being held on charges that they burglarized a home on Twining Flats on Sept. 20, taking a Range Rover and several guns.
Ognacevic and Richards are charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery in connection with an Aug. 5 incident at Clark’s Market in Aspen. Ognacevic also faces a special charge of committing a “crime of violence,” which could entail a more severe sentence.
All four, according to police, were part of a group of friends who, in various combinations, were involved in the Twining Flats burglary, robberies at Clark’s and the Village Market in Snowmass Village, as well as possibly the Aspen Alps condominium complex in Aspen and other robberies.
Others already charged in connection with the allegations are Moses Greengrass, 18, Wade Hammond 18, and Cody Wille, 17.
An eighth suspect, Stefan Schutter, 17, is being held on unrelated charges at the Grand Mesa Juvenile Detention Center, but has not been formally charged with involvement in the Aspen crime spree. Wille and Schutter are to be tried as adults, according to law enforcement authorities.
Of the eight young men charged with or suspected of involvement in the crime spree, only Wille is free on bail. The rest are in custody in one of several jails on the Western Slope.
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