Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Plea agreement reached in burglary case

Woman also charged with illegal possession of prescription meds


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Barbara A. Whitesell

A plea agreement has apparently been reached in the case of a Ketchum woman accused of illegally entering the home of her in-laws and stealing prescription drugs.

Details of the agreement were not available Tuesday from the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in the case against Barbara Ashley Whitesell, 27, who has been charged with felony burglary and two counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance. However, a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 12 was canceled after Whitesell's attorney, Robert Fallowfield, filed a memo with the Blaine County court office stating that a plea agreement had been reached.

According to court records, a "plea and sentencing" hearing is now scheduled for Monday, Nov. 23, before Magistrate Court Judge R. Ted Israel. The fact that the case will remain in magistrate court indicates that Whitesell could plead guilty to a misdemeanor, rather than a felony charge.

The case was filed against Whitesell on Oct. 7 following an investigation by the Ketchum Police Department.

Police Sgt. Dave Kassner wrote in a probable cause affidavit that the investigation was started Sept. 15 when William Whitesell accused Barbara Whitesell, described as his "estranged daughter-in-law," of stealing prescription medications belonging to his wife.

Kassner wrote that following the complaint, a video surveillance camera was set up at the home and focused on the area where the drugs were kept. Barbara Whitesell was allegedly caught on camera on Sept. 24 taking Ritalin and Hydrocodone medicine capsules or tablets from the "safe" where the drugs were kept.

The affidavit states that no one else was in the home at the time, but does not state how Barbara Whitesell allegedly gained access to the house. Under Idaho law, burglary does not require that forced entry be made into a dwelling but merely requires that someone enter a structure or vehicle with the intention of theft.

Kassner alleged in the affidavit that Whitesell had been taking medicines from her in-laws "on and off for the past three years."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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