A Connecticut state trooper will serve 16 months in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to stealing cash and jewelry from a dying victim of a motorcycle crash.
Aaron “AJ” Huntsman, 45, pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine to two felonies — third-degree larceny and tampering with evidence.
The 19-year veteran of the state police force could have faced up to 10 years in prison for the two charges, according to the Connecticut Post.
Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin said after the plea that he would sentence Huntsman to 16 months in prison followed by a five-year term of probation. Huntsman is not scheduled to be sentenced until Oct. 3. His attorney, Ryan McGuigan, can argue for a lesser sentence at that time.
Huntsman’s plea under the Alford Doctrine means he did not admit guilt but only conceded he would have likely been convicted had the case gone to trial. After entering his plea, the judge declared him guilty of the charges.
"This was very close to being reached for trial," Devlin told Huntsman during the hearing. "Before the summer was out you would have been on trial.”
Huntsman was accused of stealing a gold crucifix and a roll of cash — totaling $3,700 — from John Scalesse Sept. 22, 2012, after Scalesse wrecked his motorcycle and lay dying on the side of the road.
Huntsman, who was the first trooper at the scene of the crash, maintained his innocence despite footage from his patrol vehicle’s dash camera showing him taking the items from the critically injured man.
Scalesse, who was 49, died of his injuries while being transported to a nearby hospital, according to an earlier story from the Connecticut Post.
NBC-Connecticut reports that the state police began investigating the possible theft after Scalesse’s family members raised concerns about the missing items and investigators learned that no money or jewelry had been logged into evidence.
The money was eventually found under the front seat of Huntsman’s cruiser.
Scalesse’s mother, Marguerite Scalesse, said she is glad the matter is getting close to being put to rest.
“John didn't deserve his memory to be tarnished like this and we are finally glad it's almost over,” she said. “After all we have gone through we are glad that he [Huntsman] at least didn't make us go through a trial.”
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