Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Plea pending in Muer criminal cases

Attorney: Suspect to admit to 4 charges, 4 others to be dismissed


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Kent Joseph Muer

A defense attorney and the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office are putting the final touches on a plea agreement for a Blaine County man charged with four felonies and four misdemeanors in four separate criminal cases that have been filed against him this year.

Hailey attorney Douglas Nelson, defense counsel for 35-year-old Kent Joseph Muer, announced at a hearing Monday in Blaine County 5th District Court that he is close to finishing an agreement for his client.

Neither Nelson nor Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback discussed specifics of the agreement during the hearing, but Nelson said in an interview later that Muer will tentatively plead guilty to two felonies and two misdemeanors in exchange for dismissal of two other felonies and two other misdemeanors. Nelson declined to say which crimes Muer would admit to, noting that the plea agreement is still tentative.

Nelson further said that the Prosecuting Attorney's Office has tentatively agreed to recommend at sentencing that Muer either be placed in a 90-day alcohol rehabilitation program administered by the Idaho Department or Correction or be sentenced up to a year in the Blaine County jail.

Muer, who previously lived in the Gimlet area, appeared at the hearing via telephone hookup to Michigan, where he is currently residing with relatives.

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Judge Robert J. Elgee scheduled a change-of-plea hearing for Jan. 5.

"You will have to be here, Mr. Muer," the judge said.

Muer's troubles with the law in 2011 in Blaine County started last winter.

He is charged with misdemeanor DUI and felony possession of marijuana for allegedly having more than 3 ounces of the drug in his possession when he was pulled over by Hailey police in a traffic stop on Jan. 11

In a second case, Muer is charged with attempted strangulation, a felony, for allegedly attempting to strangle his girlfriend on the evening of Aug. 4 at the couple's home in the Gimlet area.

In a third case, Muer is charged with misdemeanor DUI for allegedly driving a John Deere Gator utility vehicle while intoxicated in the Gimlet area on the morning of Aug. 5.

In the final case, Muer is charged with felony grand theft, felony malicious injury to property, misdemeanor unlawful entry and misdemeanor "operating a vehicle without the owner's consent" for an alleged series of crimes on either the evening of Aug. 4 or early morning of Aug. 5.

A probable-cause affidavit filed by the Blaine County Sheriff's Office alleges that Muer smashed a French door of a residence in Gimlet and stole a computer and an air rifle from the home and that he took the Gator without permission from another home in the Gimlet area.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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