Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gimlet man charged with new felonies

Kent Muer now facing 8 charges in 4 separate cases


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Kent Joseph Muer

A Blaine County man who was charged in August with DUI for allegedly driving a John Deere Gator utility vehicle while intoxicated on a public road has now been charged with four new crimes for allegedly breaking into a home in the Gimlet area and taking the Gator from another residence.

In a criminal complaint filed by the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Gimlet resident Kent J. Muer, 35, is charged with two felonies—grand theft and malicious injury to property—and two misdemeanors—unlawful entry and operating a vehicle without the owner's consent. Though the case was filed on Sept. 20, it remained sealed and the file was unavailable for public review until last week.

Muer was not arrested but was instead issued a felony summons. He made an initial court appearance in Blaine County Magistrate Court on Oct. 3, when Judge R. Ted Israel ordered the case unsealed. A preliminary hearing is scheduled before Israel for Oct. 18.

It is the fourth criminal case pending against Muer in Blaine County. In the three other cases, he is charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors.

Muer remains free on a total of $70,000 in bonds posted on the other three cases. At a court hearing in September, Hailey attorney Douglas Nelson, who is representing Muer, said his client is undergoing alcohol treatment at a residential facility in Challis.

In the latest case against Muer, he is accused of breaking a window in a French door of a residence in Gimlet and stealing an Apple desktop computer and a Beeman air rifle Model R9. He is accused of taking the Gator from another Gimlet residence.

In a second case, Muer was charged with misdemeanor DUI for allegedly driving the Gator later that same day on Hanger Road in the Gimlet area.

Muer is charged with felony attempted strangulation in a third case. He allegedly assaulted his girlfriend at his home on the evening of Aug. 4.

The fourth case arose on Jan. 11 when Muer was arrested by Hailey police following a traffic stop. He was charged in that case with misdemeanor DUI and felony possession of marijuana for allegedly having eight-tenths of a pound of the drug. A jury trial is scheduled in that case for Jan. 10 before Judge Robert J. Elgee in Blaine County 5th District Court.

One of the two misdemeanor DUI charges pending against Muer could be refiled as a felony if he is convicted of one of them. Idaho law provides that a person with two prior misdemeanor DUI convictions within the past 10 years can be charged with a felony upon a third accusation.

According to court records, Muer was convicted of misdemeanor DUI in Blaine County in 2007. In that case he was ordered to pay fines and fees totaling $827.50 and was sentenced to two days in jail.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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