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Mediation hearing will determine Lettner restitution

Fri, Mar 28th, 2008
Posted in Court

PRESTON - A restitution hearing for former Chatfield Police Officer Ryan Lettner was held in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, March 24.

Lettner, along with Jesse Alan Nelson and John Mark Olson, pled guilty to the theft of tools from construction sites in and around Chatfield in November 2004. Some of the items were sold on the internet auction site eBay. All three men were ordered to share in making restitution, which was estimated at $16,000.

Lettner's attorney, Gary Gittus of Rochester, told the court that from information provided by the Fillmore County Attorney's Office it was difficult to determine what equipment and tools were returned to their owners and which were covered by insurance payments.

"There may be issues of double compensation," Gittus said, noting that it was his understanding that all items were returned to owners or compensated for except 10 items that were sold on eBay.

Acting County Attorney Kelly Wagner said that she had no additional information to turn over to the defense at this time.

Judge Robert Benson suggested that it should be as simple as coming up with a list of what was taken and what was returned, noting that the state's role is to protect the interests of the victims in this case.

Attorney Wagner suggested that the two attorneys conduct a controlled mediation hearing, where victims would be brought in to be interviewed about items lost and whether the tools were returned or insurance compensation was received.

Judge Benson gave the two attorneys 60 days in which to conduct the hearing.

Probation Violation

When Ryan Lettner was sentenced on October 1, 2007 to five years probation, he was ordered to resign from employment as a Chatfield Police Officer.

Attorney Gittus said there was some confusion as to whom Lettner was to give his letter to. Consequently, without formally resigning Lettner was in violation of the terms of his probation.

Lettner submitted a letter of resignation to the court, dated March 24, 2008, detailing his resignation from the city of Chatfield with effect from October 1, 2007. Lettner asked that he be reimbursed for any sick leave and unused vacation.

Judge Benson dismissed the violation of probation charge.

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