Man pleas guilty to robbing hitchhikers

A man accused of kidnapping, robbing and assaulting two hitchhikers last June took a plea deal on April 26 at the Kenai Courthouse.

Travis L. McHone, 27, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery felony charges and three misdemeanor charges — driving under the influence, reckless endangerment and violation of conditions of release.

According to the affidavit filed by Alaska State Trooper Investigator Austin MacDonald, on July 29, 2012, as McHone was driving, he encountered David Alarcon and Louis Cortez, who were walking along the side of the road after shopping at the Kenai Wal-Mart. McHone offered the two men a ride. They accepted. On the way to their destination, McHone asked for some gas money, but the amount the men offered wasn’t enough for McHone. He became angry when the men said they didn’t have more money and started swerving erratically. McHone passed the men’s destination, but refused to stop and reached for a club under the seat. Alarcon and McHone struggled over the club. Then, reaching from behind, Cortez placed McHone in a headlock forcing him to stop the truck. Alarcon and Cortez jumped out of the vehicle leaving groceries, a wallet, iPod and other items in McHone’s truck. McHone sped away. The property was valued at $190.

The victims know about the agreement, but did not attend the change of plea hearing on April 26 because they are back in Mexico.

At the hearing McHone voiced his concern to Superior Court Judge Anna Moran about the conditions of his probation as he is subject to both general conditions for felony probation and special conditions which will be based on the probation officer’s presentence report recommendations.

“Why would I go and sign a deal, two and a half years of my life, and then go to treatment (as a special condition)?” McHone said.

Moran explained that the recommendation could include inpatient treatment and recommendations are frequently adopted.

“I’m all about rehabilitation,” McHone said. “I’m afraid that I’m going to do 2 and a half years … and judge you’re going to tell me, ‘Oh, you have to do a year too (of treatment).’ Then our two and a half year deal turns into three and a half.”

“It does happen,” Moran said. “… I know you’re young. That seems like a long time, but, in your full life, how much more time you would spend in jail, if you don’t do treatment, is a lot longer.”

Moran asked if the defendant would like to go off the record and discuss the plea deal further with his attorney, Randall Cavanaugh.

McHone declined. He pleaded guilty to the second-degree robbery felony charges and three misdemeanor charges.

The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 10 years with 7 1/2 years suspended and five years probation. For his DUI charge, McHone will serve 20 days with 100 days suspended and was fined $3,000.

McHone remains in custody at Wildwood Correctional Complex. His sentencing is scheduled for July 26.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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