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Kenai men charged with theft, burglary

Posted: December 1, 2011 - 9:20am

Two Kenai residents face charges of burglary, theft and vehicle theft.

Alaska State Troopers detained Aaron Tolton, 35, and Mathew Braswell, 19, after an allegedly stolen Ford F-150 went into the ditch at Mile 77 of the Seward Highway. Troopers observed several items outside the vehicle where it had entered the ditch that matched property stolen in an Oct. 25 burglary, according to court records.

Tolton appeared in custody at the Kenai Courthouse on Tuesday, pleading not guilty to nine charges: two counts of first-degree burglary; five counts of second-degree theft, of a firearm and property; one count of second-degree vehicle theft and one count of first-degree vehicle theft.

All of Tolton's charges are usually class B and C felonies, but Judge Sharon Illsley amended the charges to misdemeanors.

A warrant has been issued for Braswell's arrest, and he has not appeared in court. His charges include two counts of second-degree theft and two counts of first-degree vehicle theft, all of which are class C felonies.

The first of two burglaries allegedly committed by Tolton and Braswell was reported Oct. 4. Stolen items from the Kenai residence included a Honda four-wheeler, a chainsaw, a Remington 12-guage shotgun and a high-end fishing reel, according to court documents.

Troopers estimated the value of the four-wheeler and items stolen at approximately $8,500.

Troopers determined Tolton's home in Kenai was 650 feet away from the first home broken into.

The second burglary had no obvious sign of forced entry. Investigators allege that Tolton knew the homeowner, and he worked for the resident in the past. He had keys to the residence, according to court documents.

Stolen items included a 37-inch flat screen TV, 20 fishing rods, a copy machine, clothes, a tent, sleeping bags, medications and a guitar among other items, according to the affidavit filed by Trooper Investigator Aaron Meyer.

A Ford F-150 was also stolen from the residence, according to court records. Troopers estimated the value of the vehicle at $23,000, and the value of the stolen items at $3,000.

When the vehicle entered the ditch three occupants were inside. The third occupant allegedly had no knowledge that the vehicle was stolen, and Troopers have not charged him.

Several items, which were thrown out of the vehicle when it went into the ditch and rolled onto its side, were "consistent with items stolen from the second burglary, to include fishing and camping equipment," the affidavit said.

During investigation, Tolton allegedly said he knew the vehicle was stolen and intended to tell the owner but failed to do so, and investigators would find his fingerprints on the items in the bed of the truck because he had considered purchasing them from Braswell, according to court documents.

Braswell allegedly stated his understanding was Tolton owned the truck and his fingerprints would be on the items in the bed of the truck because he moved them around. At the time of contact Braswell was arrested on a warrant stemming from an earlier burglary charge, but was later released.

Last year, Braswell was charged with second-degree burglary, tampering with physical evidence, fourth-degree criminal mischief, third-degree theft and violating parole. The case has been reopened.

Troopers checked local pawn shops, finding Tolton allegedly pawned items from the first burglary, including the chainsaw identified by its serial number. Additional items were recovered following a search of Tolton's residence and the stolen vehicle, according to court records.

Tolton's trial is scheduled for the week of Jan. 23, 2012.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

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kenai-king
232
Points
kenai-king 12/01/11 - 10:50 am
0
0
felony

Can anyone tell me why they both are not charged with FELONY's this is BS.

radiokenai
562
Points
radiokenai 12/01/11 - 02:50 pm
0
0
kenai-king
Unpublished

Most likely, because he turned on his partner (a good thing). HOWEVER, this still is not excuse not to make the thieving little bastard pay for his crimes. People work hard for their things, and nothing angers me more than some punk breaking in and stealing them.

I hope that the Judge, though downgraded the charges to misdemeanors , will have sense enough to NAIL the little jerk with at least 2-Years in Jail with 5 years probation, with UA's! ....otherwise I will vote NO to retain her as a Judge!

It is TIME the hammer came down!

And if the Judges don't start producing fair sentences for criminals...then vote them OUT!

radiokenai
562
Points
radiokenai 12/01/11 - 02:51 pm
0
0
PS....
Unpublished

I sure hope I get selected for Jury Duty on these cases!

Raoulduke
3055
Points
Raoulduke 12/01/11 - 05:51 pm
0
0
What?

Is this judge related to these habitual criminals?I have got to agree with you Kenai-King.this is a lot of BS.

LuvinLife
0
Points
LuvinLife 12/02/11 - 12:48 am
0
0
Why no felony?

I am guessing that the judge might be reducing the charges to give the offender the chance to honor a deal between himself & the DA's office to roll-over on the other guy. Happens all the time here folks...can't trust your fellow criminals? Who's a thunk it? They will strike a deal to get the bigger fish. Again just a guess.

kenai-king
232
Points
kenai-king 12/02/11 - 09:19 am
0
0
FELONY

If they get rid of the little fish the big fish have nothing to feed on and they will go away also.
A felony is a felony no matter how you look at it. This kid will be back in the system in no time, the judge did not do this kid any favors.

Sharon7
4
Points
Sharon7 12/02/11 - 08:46 pm
0
0
another judge needs to be rejected at next vote for retention

Please remember this judges name when she comes up for retaining her seat by the people's vote.

The kid hasn't been in court yet... the charges that were reduced was for the 35yo male. I recall Braswell on the news a couple years ago for earning scholarships, etc. What a disappointment.

anrsvc
14
Points
anrsvc 12/04/11 - 12:48 am
0
0
Concerning the charges

Kenai-King, Raoulduke, LuvinLife:

Hey Raoulduke - hope you and your family are well and enjoying the Christmas season!

Tolton was charged with felony burglary. The reason the charges were dropped initially was because the State has 10 days after charging someone with a felony to bring it before a grand jury. Problem is that there are only so many cases that can be brought before a grand jury in a small community. Sometimes they can't get all of the cases before them. Consequently, felony charges are (procedurally) dropped but misdemeanor charges can be sustained and the defendant will remain under the jurisdiction of the court (kept in custody or released on conditions instead of just let go).

In the end, what Judge Illsley did was to keep the defendant in custody pending indictment. Public safety was protected as a result of Judge Illsley's actions.

Tolton remained in custody on charges. Prior to indictment, the case remains in District Court.

However, the State can later bring the case before a grand jury and if a true-bill is given by the GJ, then the felony charges can go forward.

This is exactly what happened in this case. The Defendant was formally indicted on the 23rd of November. The case was closed in District Court and immediately opened in Superior Court (transfered). The Defendant would then be arraigned on the indicted charges in Superior Court (of which the Defendant was).

Tolton is currently charged and indicted on multiple felony charges. The newspaper could have explained this procedure and it might have helped.

While Tolton is presumed innocent (and is indeed innocent until proven guilty), the grand jury agreed that probable cause existed for these charges to go forward. Tolton is still in custody and in a lot of trouble.

Aside from all of the (sometimes confusing) procedural actions and an article that did not quite explain all of this, the Judge did a good job and the Defendants have been charged appropriately.

One in custody, still looking for the other. Hope that he is caught or turns himself in before other people are victimized.

radiokenai
562
Points
radiokenai 12/05/11 - 11:08 am
0
0
anrsvc
Unpublished

Greetings and Happy Holidays to you!

Thank you for a better description of what went down. I believe you are very correct in that the Clarion should have better explained the procedure.

I know of several stories that, if the clarion did just a little bit of research, would discover that their reporting was not on target.

This one seems to be another one to throw in the heap of "not quality reporting". You would think that reports on the front page, or hot titles, would be thoroughly investigated.....

It seems rather ridiculous that the Public has to rely on the report of the people, not the Paper, to get the correct story! (Wake up Clarion...)

Sharon7
4
Points
Sharon7 01/03/12 - 10:27 pm
0
0
understanding the court system

Thanks for that explanation, anrsvc. It was very helpful in clarifying why certain things were done in this case.

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