Prosecutor says Cody Wille’s sentence should be reduced | AspenTimes.com
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Prosecutor says Cody Wille’s sentence should be reduced

John Colson

A local prosecutor has recommended that Cody Wille’s prison sentence be changed to a sentence of six years’ probation “under the strictest supervision.”

If Judge J.E. DeVilbiss accepts the recommendation in a hearing today, Wille will be out of prison and living back in Aspen.

Wille, 18, is one of a dozen local youths who took part in a series of armed robberies, burglaries and other crimes in August and September of 1999.

Originally charged with five felonies, including armed robbery, he pleaded guilty in December 1999 to one count of robbery. Other charges against him were reduced, in part, for a promise to testify against others implicated in the crime spree.

Wille currently is serving a three-year sentence in the Youth Offender Services (YOS) prison, located on state mental hospital grounds in Pueblo. If the YOS sentence had not worked out, for whatever reason, he would have been sentenced to serve five years in a regular, adult prison.

While at YOS, Wille has earned his diploma from Aspen High School, been awarded several certificates of achievement for doing well in “living skills” and “victim awareness” classes and has taken correspondence courses, according to YOS case manager Bob Jaramillo.

“Mr. Wille has excelled in all areas,” declares a letter from Jaramillo to Judge DeVilbiss, adding that Wille “has maintained a positive attitude throughout his stay at Y.O.S. and hopes to go to college.”

Wille’s court file also contains offers from local supporters to provide everything from mental health therapy to a “restorative justice” mediation session with victims of his crimes, in an effort to help him reintegrate back into society here.

Prosecutor Lawson Wills has recommended that Wille be brought back to Aspen and not be required to serve out his entire term in the youth prison. Wills said last week that in most sentence reconsideration hearings, the defendant is not brought back to Aspen.

In many cases, Wills said, the judge makes a ruling based on reports in the court file, and the defendant is informed of the decision while in prison.

The hearings can result in a reduced sentence, a change in the type of prison where the sentence is to be served or reassignment to a halfway house.

What cannot happen, Wills said, is a lengthening of a sentence through the reconsideration process.

Wills said reconsideration hearings likely have been requested by all 12 involved in the 1999 crime spree. But, he said, to date the only ones that have been set for hearings are Wille, Yuri Ognacevic and Jacob Richards.

Wille’s hearing originally was set for March 5 but was delayed a week when the judge fell ill and canceled court last week.

As a result, the hearings of Ognacevic and Richards will be rescheduled for later dates. Both men are currently incarcerated in halfway houses in Grand Junction.

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