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Lettner accomplices sentenced to two years probation

Fri, Jan 11th, 2008
Posted in Court

PRESTON - The two men who assisted former Chatfield Police Officer Ryan Lettner in thefts of several construction sites in Fillmore and Olmsted counties in 2004 were sentenced in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, January 7, 2008.

Jesse Nelson and John Olson, both of Rochester, pled guilty to four counts of theft in October 2007 as part of a plea agreement. All other charges were dismissed.

The two men admitted stealing construction equipment and other property from construction sites. The items were later sold by Lettner on the internet auction site eBay.

Judge Robert Benson stayed imposition of sentencing for two years and placed Jesse Nelson on probation. He also fined Nelson $1400 and ordered him to pay restitution of $18,084. Nelson must also serve 30 days in jail, with credit given for 10 days served.

Nelson's attorney, James McGeeney, told the court that Lettner used coercive measures to get his client to cooperate in the theft ring and that his client still feared Lettner.

Judge Benson gave John Olson a similar sentence. Benson stayed imposition of sentencing for two years and placed Olson on probation. Olson was fined $1200 and ordered to serve 30 days in jail, with credit for five days served. He must also help pay $18,084 in restitution. Olson was also ordered to pay $1250 to the Public Defense Fund.

Olson's court appointed lawyer, Julie Ann Maxwell, told the court that Olson and Nelson rented a house from Lettner and were fearful of repercussions if they didn't help Lettner.

Both Olson and Nelson apologized to the victims for their actions and both pledged to be law abiding.

Judge Benson acknowledged that there may have been some coercion on the part of Ryan Lettner in manipulating the two men to participate in the thefts, but pointed out that the nature of the crimes warranted some punitive action.

For his actions, Lettner was sentenced on October 1, 2008 to 180 days in jail, fined $6000 and ordered to pay restitution after entering an Alford plea on two felony charges.

A restitution hearing in the case is scheduled for the week of January 14, 2008.

Felony sentencing

• Brandon Gene Gergen, 20, of Chatfield, was sentenced on December 31, 2007 in District Court to five years probation after pleading guilty to making terroristic threats. As part of a plea agreement, all other charges were dismissed.

Judge Benson sentenced Gergen to prison for 15 months, with a fine of $3,000, but stayed execution of sentencing for five years.

Gergen admitted to threatening a 16 year old Chatfield youth with a knife on August 22, 2006.

In addition to probation, Gergen was ordered to serve 120 days in jail and pay a fine of $500. He was given credit for 78 days served in jail.

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