Sentencing delayed again for Ognacevic |

Sentencing delayed again for Ognacevic

John Colson

A local judge on Monday once again continued the sentencing proceedings for Yuri Ognacevic, one of 12 local teen-agers accused of going on a crime spree last year in Aspen.

Judge J.E. DeVilbiss continued the case against Ognacevic until March 13, while 9th Judicial District officials figure out whether he is eligible for what is known as the “community corrections” program. Ognacevic is being held in the Pitkin County Jail pending sentencing.

Ognacevic, 18, pleaded guilty last November to being one of five local young men involved in the armed robbery of Clark’s Market in Aspen on Aug. 5, 1999.

A 9th Judicial District probation official had recommended that Ognacevic spend four years in prison for the crime, and he was originally to be sentenced in early December. But Judge DeVilbiss has twice declined to go ahead with sentencing, once because he was concerned about the defendant’s state of mind and once at Ognacevic’s attorney’s request.

On Monday, DeVilbiss learned in court that the judicial district’s community corrections board had held what is known as a “staffing” to discuss the possibility of Ognacevic’s being sentenced to community corrections, which essentially means a halfway house or some other minimum-security facility.

The board had permitted Ognacevic’s attorney, Fred Gannett of Basalt, along with local psychologist Craig Angus to participate in the staffing, according to sources familiar with the court proceedings. Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills, however, did not attend, sources indicated.

When Wills asked the judge in court whether there should be another meeting to determine Ognacevic’s eligibility for community corrections, the judge indicated that Wills and Gannett should decide what should be done next.

Three other defendants connected to the crime spree, William “Wade” Hammond, Nathan Morse and Jacob Richards, all 18, have already been sentenced as a result of plea bargains.

Hammond got three years in prison for his part in an armed robbery at The Village Market in Snowmass Village.

Morse was sentenced to four years of probation for his part in the burglary of a home in Twining Flats.

Richards, who pleaded guilty to participation in the Twining Flats job but admitted involvement in the Clark’s Market heist as well, was sentenced to four years in prison.

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