Co-defendants plead down to 50 charges

SUBLETTE COUNTY – Three co-defendants from Florida, arrested Feb. 9 after one was stopped for speeding, faced the prospect of a single trial for all three for numerous charges after investigators found stolen licenses, credit cards, phones, checkbooks and a filled-out check in the cars.

Instead, they reached plea agreements that will put each in prison for 36 to 42 months with two changing their pleas and being sentenced on Thursday, July 22.

Wyoming Highway Patrol’s initial investigation pointed to Antwan T. Kegler, Nykolus K. Williams-Richburg and Jerquila K. Bell as having 50 items or more reported stolen in the previous weeks from a number of states.

Theft charges

Kegler was charged with nine counts – two “forged writing” felonies and seven misdemeanors including possession of THC.

Bell was charged with 20 counts – two felonies of conspiracy to possess forged writing and taking THC into the jail – as well as 16 misdemeanor thefts, interference and possession charge. Williams-Richburg faced 21 counts with one felony conspiracy charge and 20 misdemeanors ranging from theft to interference to driving with a suspended license and speeding.

Each pleaded not guilty during March 18 videoconference arraignments to the assorted felonies and misdemeanors. Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson requested their three trials in 9th District Court be joined for expedience.

Three attorneys working as public defenders argued against joining the trials. One obstacle, they told 9th District Judge Marv Tyler, was that not one in custody had revealed any information about the others, and each would have to be cross-examined at length.

Judge Tyler approved Crosson’s motion to join; eventually plea agreements began taking shape with Elisabeth Trefonas representing Kegler, Rachel Weksler representing Bell and Rives White representing Williams-Richburg.

One by one

Bell was sentenced first after pleading no contest to the conspiracy and taking a controlled substance into jail felonies. She also pleaded no contest to misdemeanors of checkbook theft, interference with a police officer. She was sentenced to three to three and a half years in a woman’s correctional facility for the conspiracy felony, 18 to 30 months for taking a controlled substance into the facility and 12 months for the interference charge. All run at the same time.

On July 22, Kegler changed his pleas to no contest to felony possession of a forged writing and misdemeanor possession of THC.

Judge Tyler sentenced Kegler to three to four years for the felony and 12 months for the misdemeanor with credit for 163 days in custody, and asked if he had anything to say.

“I just want to get this done and go home to my kids,” Kegler said.

That afternoon, Williams-Richburg pleaded no contest to the conspiracy felony and theft, interference and possession misdemeanors. His sentence was three to three and a half years for the felony, six months for theft and 12 months each for interference and possession, all to run at the same time. He also received 163 days of credit.

None of the victims requested restitution. Judge Tyler dismissed all remaining charges at Crosson’s request.