Judge puts off Wille sentencing
Cody Wille, one of five local youths implicated in an armed robbery at Clark’s Market in Aspen last year, got an unexpected reprieve on Monday when a local judge delayed Wille’s sentencing until Feb. 24.
Judge J.E. DeVilbiss last week rejected a motion to postpone the sentencing, but on Monday granted the defense’s motion to reconsider last week’s decision.
After talking with officers of the 9th Judicial District Probation Department, DeVilbiss ruled that the sentencing would take place in 10 days.
The delay in sentencing is to give the probation office time to conduct a meeting of its staff to determine whether Wille is an appropriate candidate for a type of sentence known as “community corrections.”
Probation officer Susan Cashel had recommended that Wille be sentenced to four years in state prison, but that the sentence be suspended and the youth be placed in the custody of the Youthful Offenders Services.
The YOS, according to chief probation officer Terry Norris, involves a “regimented inmate training program” for young men convicted of serious offenses, similar to the adult program known as “boot camp.”
Wille, 17, pleaded guilty last December to second-degree robbery, admitting that he took part in the robbery at Clark’s on Aug. 5. He is one of a group of 12 local teen-agers accused in a string of robberies and a burglary.
Wille reportedly faces a potential sentence of 16 years in prison because weapons were used in the robbery, though the crime he pleaded guilty to calls for a normal sentencing range of two to six years in prison.
But Wille’s family is hoping to convince Judge J.E. DeVilbiss to accept some kind of “alternative sentencing” guidelines and not send the youth to prison.
Cashel reported she had talked to Department of Corrections officials about Wille’s eligibility for the community corrections program, which typically involves housing convicted criminals in halfway houses around the state, with work-release privileges during the day. She indicated that it was not likely that Wille would be admitted into such a program because weapons were used in the crime he committed.
Wille is one of two local youths charged in the crime spree who is a minor being charged as an adult. The other is Stefan Schutter, who is now 18 but was 17 when he took part in the crime spree, which included armed robberies at Clark’s, The Village Market in Snowmass Village, and the Aspen Alps condominium complex.
Of the 12 youths connected to the crimes, eight have pleaded guilty. Four – Thomas Colver, 19; Shea Estes, 18; Anthony Rizzuto, 19; and Schutter – have yet to enter a plea in the cases against them.
Schutter has been held at a juvenile correctional facility near Grand Junction while serving a one-year sentence for crimes committed in Aspen more than a year ago. He was out on parole when he is believed to have taken part in armed robberies at Clark’s and at Village Market.
A third 17-year-old implicated in the crime spree is being charged as a juvenile, and has pleaded guilty in a plea bargain with Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills. His name is being withheld by authorities.
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