No plea deal yet in theft, forgery case

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One of the suspects from December's methamphetamine sweep will have to wait until today before a judge accepts a plea deal in his cases.

Troy Neal, 35, of Craig, appeared in 14th Judicial District Court on Monday for a plea hearing on felony theft and forgery charges stemming from incidents prosecutors say happened in 2003.

Neal was one of 15 people arrested in December on suspicion of felony possession and distribution of meth in one of the biggest drug sweeps in Moffat County history.

Neal pleaded not guilty to meth charges in February.

In court Monday, Neal's lawyer, Erick Nordstrom, of Steamboat Springs, said his client was prepared to accept a deal from prosecutors in the theft and forgery cases.

The deal would have specified that Neal plead guilty to misdemeanor theft and would not serve any jail time. The deal did not affect Neal's meth case, which is set to go to trial in July.

Neal pleaded not guilty in February to the forgery and theft charges, but Nordstrom said that because of a lack of evidence and a deal prosecutors offered, his client decided not to go to trial.

"There is very thin evidence on several of theses counts," Nordstrom said.

"There is not a strong likelihood of conviction in this case."

Nordstrom said his client pleaded not guilty in February to the forgery charges because a deal had not been offered yet.

"If (the deal) was offered and tendered earlier, we would have accepted it earlier," Nordstrom said.

But Chief Judge Michael O'Hara did not accept the deal Monday.

"I have some great reservations about going forward with a plea in this case," O'Hara said.

O'Hara did not reject the deal Monday, either. Instead, he rescheduled the hearing for this afternoon, giving Nordstrom time to discuss both of Neal's cases with prosecutors.

Nordstrom said he expected a plea offer in the meth case from prosecutors soon.

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