In court: Sweetheart deal sours
ASPEN A woman with a lengthy criminal record who barely dodged a prison sentence for writing bad checks last summer was back in court in Aspen Monday, for allegedly violating her parole. Emily Wodiuk, 23, faces two to six years in prison if she is convicted of violating her parole and her sweetheart plea deal is revoked. When Wodiuk was sentenced in July, prosecutor Gail Nichols argued that Wodiuk should have been sentenced to four years in prison because of her previous convictions and problems while on probation. At the time, Wodiuk’s defense attorney, Garth McCarty, argued that Wodiuk suffers from mental health and addiction problems and that prison was not the best place for her to get help. Ms. Wodiuk lives in an alternate reality, McCarty said at the hearing in July. The whole situation is strange. It’s irrational.Nichols listed numerous conditions that Wodiuk had allegedly violated since August, including using alcohol and drugs, missing probation appointments and not finding a job. Wodiuk said she would like to hire private counsel and Judge James Boyd gave her until Feb. 4 at 10:30 a.m. to come up with an attorney. Bad-check writer set freeAn Alabama man who wrote a series of bad checks to Aspen businesses received a two-year deferred sentence on a felony theft Monday.Matthew Junkins, 24, has pleaded guilty to the felony theft and a misdemeanor theft. He was sentenced to the 50 days he has already served in the Pitkin County jail for the misdemeanor. Junkins wrote bad checks for $3,000 worth of food, alcohol and sporting goods at Cooper Street Pier, Durrance Sports, Jimmys An American Bar & Restaurant, and the Ute Mountaineer, among other businesses. Most of the goods were returned, though local two bartenders were out hundreds of dollars in cash. The bar tabs are part of Junkins required restitution of $1,337. Prosecutor Gail Nichols said Junkins never deposited money into the account he opened, before writing checks against it last month.Junkins was approved to do his probation in his home state of Alabama. Man pleads not guilty to burglaryAn area man pleaded not guilty to three felonies Monday and a trial date was set. Matthew Franzen, 46, is accused of breaking into the house of Michael Mulcahy, of Basalt, stealing $2,000 worth of goods and attempting to extort $1,000 out of Mulcahy.Judge Boyd ruled there is enough evidence to hold Franzen on the charges of criminal extortion, burglary and theft. A three-day trial was set for April 8-10. The pre-trial motions are due on Feb. 7. A pre-trial review is scheduled for Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. and a pre-trial conference is scheduled for Mar. 17 at 3 p.m.Change of venue denied for vehicle chase suspectThe suspect in a wild car chase around the Aspen area last July was denied a motion to change the venue of his case Monday. Phillip Vigil, 28, sat silent as his lawyer, Garth McCarty, argued that the alleged crime was so memorable as to warrant a change of venue. McCarty called the vehicle chase the most sensationalized crime of 2007 and said it was kind of like Jason Bourne meets Die Hard.Vigil was charged with three counts of felony vehicular eluding, aggravated motor vehicle theft in the second degree, aggravated driving after license revoked, possession of a handgun by a felon and possession of burglary tools, as well as various misdemeanors and traffic offenses such as driving under the influence.A plea deal is on the table for Vigil and Nichols has previously said the plea offer will remain the same until two weeks before trial or two weeks before the next trial-related hearing, though she would not comment on what the deal is.Vigils case was continued until Feb. 11 at 10:30 a.m. so McCarty can obtain mental-health records from Denver. Vigil faces two to six years in prison for the most serious charge and a required consecutive prison sentence of one year to 18 months for the handgun charge. He is in custody in the Pitkin County Jail on $45,000 bond.Three bench warrants issuedWarrants were issued Monday for Jared Hidden, Robert Shields and Tyson Hurd. None of the three showed up on their appointed court date. Robert Shields, 24, was arrested after allegedly going on a shooting spree in Redstone. Shields allegedly began firing his gun through windows and doors around 11 p.m., while his roommates were in the house. He was arrested on misdemeanor charges of use of a weapon while drunk, reckless endangerment and negligent discharge of a weapon. He faces up to two and a half years in jail and a $2,750 fine. An arrest warrant in the amount of $1,500 was issued.Tyson Hurd, 32, stole two paintings valued at $90,000 each and was set for a sentencing hearing on Monday. He told the office of his attorney that he could not make it from Denver because Interstate 70 was closed, though it was not closed at midday. Judge Boyd issued a $10,000 warrant that will be stayed until Jan. 14, when another sentencing date was set. Jared Hidden, 29, was supposed to appear Monday on charges of an alleged probation violation after he got a six-month suspended jail sentence for stealing a watch. He was issued a $1,000 arrest warrant.
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