Mental exam ordered in break-in case


Sentencing for a Craig man who pleaded guilty to robbing a local sportsmen's store was delayed Tuesday afternoon in 14th Judicial District Court.

The delay was ordered so the defendant could undergo a psychiatric examination.

In October, Adam Koester, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and theft. The charges stemmed from a break-in at Cashway Distributors, Fourth and Ranny streets, in September.

Police said Koester, then 19, and a 15-year-old juvenile, caused $800 worth of damage to the store and stole five handguns.

Judge Michael O'Hara ordered that a continuance be granted in the case so Koester could undergo a mental health evaluation, results from which would go into a pre-sentencing report.

The sentencing hearing was rescheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 2.

"What I really don't want to do is sentence someone with mental health problems without addressing them," O'Hara said.

Koester's attorney, public defender Sheryl Uhlmann, opposed the continuance. She also asked the court to lower the $20,000 bond against Koester, who she said was indigent.

Koester has been in custody since September. Uhlmann said her client could not post bond, does not have a criminal history, is not a flight risk and needed to get out of jail to be with his girlfriend, who is six months pregnant.

However, prosecutor Russell Wasley said Koester committed a "significant crime" and he opposed modifying the bond. O'Hara ruled against lowering the bond amount.

In September, a Craig resident reported that two men had broken through Cashway's glass doors and were seen running away from the building, police reported.

An officer then spotted the two suspects walking near railroad tracks about two blocks west of the business.

Koester was charged with burglary, theft, criminal mischief, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing or permitting a juvenile possession of a handgun and burglary with a weapon, all felonies. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon.

The two suspects were found with handguns taken from the store and a machete knife used to break into the store and display cases inside, police said.

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