Jail vandalism suspect faces felony

A Craig man who sheriff's deputies say broke a cell door at Moffat County Jail in January will face a felony criminal mischief charge, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Shaun P. Sanchez, 26, of Craig, had been in Moffat Coun--ty Jail since December on multiple charges when deputies say he and another inmate broke two cell doors, causing about $1,200 in damage.

Sanchez appeared in Moffat County Court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on felony criminal mischief charges.

Jail administrator Dean Hern--don testified that video evidence showed Sanchez and fellow inmate Tommy Lee Barton, 22, of Craig, breaking the hinges of two cell doors.

Barton pleaded guilty to attempted criminal mischief, a Class 5 felony, and was sentenced this month to two years probation and ordered to pay $2,737 in court costs and restitution for breaking the door.

If Sanchez is convicted of breaking to doors, he will have to pay half of the $1,200 restitution.

Video footage was not shown in court Tuesday because Moffat County Judge Mary Lynne James could not open the footage on her computer.

But James ruled that still photos presented by Deputy District Attorney Andy Heyl showed Sanchez broke the door.

Sanchez will be arraigned on criminal mischief charges in 14th Judicial District Court on May 3.

Sanchez's attorney, public defender Sheryl Uhlmann, argued that the case should not be sent to district court.

Uhlmann argued that the restitution costs, which include paying the benefits and wages for county employees who worked to repair the door, weren't fair.

Heyl argued that it was fair for Sanchez to pay for employee's time if he is convicted of breaking the doors.

"If people didn't do these sorts of things, we probably wouldn't need so many employees," Heyl said.

Sanchez is set to appear in court next month on separate charges, including assault and methamphetamine distribution.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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