Plea cuts criminal counts from 17 to three
Jeffrey Allen Key of Aspen, who had faced 17 criminal counts ranging from theft to breaking in to cars to illegal possession of a handgun, pleaded guilty this week in 9th Judicial District Court to fewer counts.Key, 41, is likely to go to prison for two years and then undergo five years of probation as a result of the plea bargain.He pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft, one count of breaking into a car and one count of probation violation. As part of the plea deal, Key has agreed to serve the prison term and to the probation in return for dismissal of all other charges against him.The probation violation was the handgun possession, which for Key was illegal because he had been convicted of a felony in an unrelated case and was on probation.If the case had gone to trial, the judge told Key, he could have faced up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.In court on Monday, proceedings bogged down briefly when Prosecutor Andy Heyl discovered some “errors” in the text of the plea bargain documents that public defender Greg Greer and the defendant already signed.Apparently, Heyl told the judge, the number of counts against Key had been incorrectly tallied, requiring the submission of a corrected plea document. It took some time to straighten things out, and at one point the judge admonished both attorneys, “We need counsel to proofread documents” before they are handed in to the court.In the end, the judge merely corrected the documents by hand and ordered Key to return to court on Jan. 26 to be sentenced.According to police, Key broke in to a number of cars in May and June, stealing such items as jewelry, cash, golf clubs, a cell phone charger, sunglasses and socks.Allegedly he was arrested after the occupant of an apartment he was going through caught hi. The occupant called police, who later located Key, according to court documents.John Colson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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