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Man accused in burglaries decides not to agree to deal

Juneau district attorney to go to grand jury to seek felony indictment after Stringer turns plea down

Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2003

A man charged this spring in two felony cases involving vehicle burglaries left a Juneau courtroom Tuesday facing a possible third indictment after rejecting a plea agreement.

Sheridan Scott Stringer, 34, was scheduled to stand trial this week. Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins canceled the trial because an apparent plea agreement was reached.

But after conferring with Stringer in court Tuesday, defense attorney Rob Meachum said his client wasn't prepared to go forward. Details of the proposed plea agreement were not discussed.

Stringer was arrested in March, initially accused of stealing a purse from a vehicle parked near the Brotherhood Bridge trailhead in the Mendenhall Valley. Later, he was indicted in two felony cases. The alleged burglaries include a string of thefts from vehicles last winter at the Merchants Wharf parking lot downtown.

The change of plea had been set for Monday. Collins postponed it because prosecutors had not yet charged Stringer with all the crimes the plea sought to resolve.

Juneau District Attorney Patrick Gullufsen brought a new complaint to court Tuesday. Collins assigned it a new case number. After Stringer declined to accept the plea agreement, Gullufsen withdrew the complaint and said he would go to the grand jury to seek a felony indictment on the matter. Collins rescheduled the trial for Nov. 18.

Before she adjourned Tuesday's hearing, Stringer asked if he could be heard. "I've been incarcerated for eight months," he said. "I would at least like to understand my charges."

Meachum assured the judge that he had spoken with the defendant and visited him in jail.

One of Stringer's alleged victims was in court for the expected plea Monday and Tuesday. Steve Handy also showed up to see a withdrawn change of plea in September.

"I don't feel like a victim," he said later. "I just want this mess over with."

Handy, a core member of the Juneau Mountain Rescue Group, said he is looking for the return of stolen rescue equipment recovered as evidence in the case.

He thanked people in the community who donated money and gear, but he is still looking for "expensive stuff like radios."

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.



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