Judge keeps Ohio man in state for Zele sentencing | AspenTimes.com

Judge keeps Ohio man in state for Zele sentencing

John Colson

An Ohio man who pleaded guilty to burglarizing the Zele coffee shop in 1998 will not be going home in the weeks leading up to his sentencing.

Michael Maness, 25, asked Judge J.E. DeVilbiss to lower his bond from $5,500 to $1,000 on Monday, so that Maness could return to his home state, where he lives with his mother, according to defense attorney Jim Conway.

Conway explained that Maness “had been doing well” in Ohio, and that he was working at a steady job there.

He noted that Maness came back to Colorado to face the charges against him and indicated that Maness is hoping to receive a probationary sentence and be allowed to return to Ohio permanently.

Maness pleaded guilty to one count of criminal trespassing, a class five felony that carries a potential sentence of up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

He originally faced charges of third-degree burglary, a felony, and misdemeanor theft for allegedly stealing $355 from the store’s cash drawer.

According to the Aspen Police Department, the burglary occurred on Oct. 15, 1998, just over a month after Maness had been fired from Zele.

On the night of the burglary, according to court documents, Maness was out drinking with several friends, including Jade Fulkerson and Clay Hapke, who was then working at Zele.

The trio drove together in Hapke’s car to The Aspen Store (formerly Local’s Corner), and while Hapke went into the store, Maness and Fulkerson went off somewhere else, reportedly after Maness took Hapke’s keys to Zele’s front door.

Fulkerson returned after a short time, and then Maness got back, Hapke told police. Maness reportedly then handed the keys back to Hapke.

A short time later, Hapke was arrested on charges of driving drunk and taken to jail, while the other two were released to make their own way back into town. It was their names on the police report that led police to Maness.

Maness left town before Aspen police officer Jim Cannan asked a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest. It was not until March 2000, after Cannan had quit the force and officer Eric Deutschlander took over the case, that a warrant was issued.

Maness was arrested in Ohio for an unknown offense, and when police there checked his record they learned of the warrant and started extradition proceedings.

Prosecutor Lawson Wills told the judge on Monday that it cost the state nearly $1,200 to bring Maness back to Colorado to stand trial, and Wills opposed the request to lower Maness’ bail and allow him to travel back to Ohio prior to sentencing.

Judge DeVilbiss ruled that Maness could not leave the state but lowered the bond to $2,000. Maness is to be sentenced on March 5.

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