Kurt Hildebrand

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February 26, 2013
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Wildrose burglar sentenced to eight years

The man accused of burglarizing two Wildrose Drive homes claimed Monday he was pressured to admit his guilt.

Justin Turek, 32, was sentenced to up to eight years in prison on Monday after his request for a continuance or to withdraw his plea agreement was denied by District Judge Michael Gibbons.

Turek told Gibbons he wanted a trial after he was told that the Nevada court had no influence on what happens with his sentencing in Arizona.

Turek is facing drug charges in that state and sought to have his sentence in Nevada run concurrently with whatever he gets in Arizona.

"It's 50-50 whether I get a concurrent sentence in Arizona," he said. "If I can't I'm looking at being locked up for a lot of my life."

Gibbons asked Turek how delaying his sentencing would help his case.

"How does this help you?" Gibbons asked. "If you withdraw your plea you'll be looking at all the original charges again."

Turek's attorney Derrick Lopez said Turek felt he was under pressure to make a decision in plea negotiations.

Arrested on Aug. 31, Turek had been in jail for more than five months before he was arraigned. It wasn't until the first week of January that Turek waived his preliminary hearing in East Fork Justice Court.

He appeared on Jan. 8 in Douglas County District Court before Visiting Judge Charles McGee where the judge asked him if he entered the Wildrose homes with the intent to steal. Turek said he had.

Prosecutor Tom Gregory said that nothing that happened here had anything to do with the Arizona case.

"Sounds to me like he wants to spend more time in the county jail," Gregory said. "We did not enter negotiations that binds the hands of Arizona."

Gibbons said that whether the Arizona case is concurrent is completely dependent on that court.

"It's the last court that determines whether a sentence is concurrent, not the first court," he said.

Turek, unhappy with that answer, said he didn't feel it mattered what he said when it came to the more than $35,000 in restitution he'll be asked to pay when his sentence is done.

"I asked to go to trial," he said. "Apparently, I have no choice. I was coerced into taking a plea."

Gregory read a letter from one of the victims who said Turek got into their safe and took thousands of dollars in cash, gold and silver.

Turek denied any knowledge about where the property was.

They asked for the new tires off Turek's mother's truck, which he purchased just before being taken into custody. Turek said he purchased the tires with casino winnings.

Turek will have to spend a minimum of 38 months in Nevada state prison, with 179 days in jail counted as time served. He faces four counts of possession of a dangerous drug in Maricopa County, Ariz. He was permitted to travel to Nevada by the Arizona court shortly before the burglaries occurred.

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The Record Courier Updated Feb 26, 2013 01:52PM Published Feb 26, 2013 12:53PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.