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3 misdemeanors, 60 days in jail for assault at A&P

27-year-old man also pleads guilty to theft, then criminal mischief in separate case By EMILY RUSSO MILLER

Posted: May 6, 2012 - 12:16am

A Juneau man accused of threatening two Alaskan & Proud employees with a knife pleaded guilty to assault and theft this week in Juneau Superior Court, and was sentenced to serve 50 days in prison.

Matthew R. Gilchrest, who turns 28 next week, also pleaded guilty to another, but less serious misdemeanor crime in Juneau District Court, Friday. He was sentenced to serve 10 days in prison in that case.

In connection to the April 6 A&P incident, Gilchrest changed his plea on Monday during a scheduled bail hearing in Superior Court.

He agreed to plead to two reduced charges: fourth-degree assault and third-degree theft. Those are both class ‘A’ misdemeanors that can carry up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

He was initially indicted by a grand jury last month on more serious felony charges, two counts of third-degree assault, a class ‘C’ felony that can carry up to five years in prison.

Prosecutors charged Gilchrest shoplifted about $50 worth of items from the grocery store, then threatened two employees with a knife when they approached him about it in the parking lot.

An affidavit states police found an approximately 7-inch bladed hunting-type knife sticking out of his pocket when he was arrested.

In accordance with a plea agreement that put a cap of 60 days of time to serve, Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg imposed 240 days in prison with 200 days suspended for the assault charge, and 40 days in prison with 30 days suspended for the theft charge. That means Gilchrest has a total of 50 days to serve.

Pallenberg also ordered Gilchrest to forfeit the knife, pay $51.12 in restitution, and keep off A&P property.

On Friday in District Court, Deputy Magistrate Sharon Heidersdorf sentenced Gilchrest to 60 days in prison with 50 days suspended for a city criminal mischief case.

Gilchrest admitted to punching a window out of a Switzer Village trailer last October after a poker game night got heated.

Gilchrest’s attorney Kevin Higgins said someone called Gilchrest the n-word as he was leaving, and Higgins said Gilchrest “perhaps justifiably” responded by breaking the trailer’s window.

“He’s here taking his lumps for that,” Higgins said.

Heidersdorf required Gilchrest to enroll in anger management classes, to pay restitution and placed him on probation for two years.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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