A Havre woman has been sentenced for felony theft and misdemeanor forgery.
The charges against Erica Dion stemmed from incidences between March 2001 and January 2002 when she is accused of stealing jewelry from a woman and writing checks from the woman's checking account. Dion pleaded no contest to the theft and forgery charges, which means that she did not admit to the offenses but acknowledged that the state had enough evidence to convict her.
"I wrote the checks, but I didn't steal the jewelry," a tearful Dion told the court Jan. 31. "I lied and said I did it just to get this over with."
Dion's defense attorney, Jeremy Yellin, was momentarily speechless. "It's rare, but I'm at a loss for words, your honor," he told Judge John Warner, and asked for a brief recess to confer with his client.
Following the recess, Yellin told the court that Dion wanted to continue with sentencing and her no contest plea.
Warner sentenced her in accordance with a plea agreement signed by the state which called for a one-year deferred sentence on each misdemeanor forgery charge, to run concurrently. Hill County Attorney David Rice said Dion has already paid restitution for the checks.
Dion received a three-year deferred sentence and was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution to the woman for the felony theft charge. Warner warned Dion that since the woman had been reimbursed for the jewelry by her insurance company, the insurance company could file a civil suit against Dion.
The woman had told Warner in a letter that she didn't think Dion had stolen the jewelry and she didn't want Dion to be ordered to pay restitution because she had received restitution from her insurance company.
As part of the plea agreement, felony theft charges were dropped against Dion related to the theft of two lawn tractors from a dealership in Livingston.