CUSTER COUNTY— The former Custer County Sheriff’s Office employee who stole over $5,000, appeared in District Court on Thursday, August 23, to hear her sentencing handed down by Judge Karin Noakes. Representing the state in the case was specially appointed attorney Ryan Swaroff. Swaroff simply stated that the State would understand if the court ordered jail time or if probation was more appropriate. Swaroff also said that if the court did decide on probation, that the State would like to see community service added on to the probation.
Estergard’s attorney, Christopher Wickham, argued that while there was no excuse for what Kelli Estergard did, she was sorry and recommended probation. He also stated that Estergard had friends and family that were helping support her through the trial.
Estergard did speak to the court briefly in a tear filled apology saying that there was no excuse for her actions. She said she was sorry to the people of Custer County, the people she hurt, the Sheriff’s office, and Sheriff Dan Osmond.
Before announcing the sentencing, Judge Noakes told Estergard that while she had no prior convictions and that the restitution was paid in full shortly after being arrested, it was still troubling. Judge Noakes made it clear that the biggest issue was that it was a calculated series of acts over a large period of time. Judge Noakes sentenced Estergard to three years of probation and also ordered her to serve 125 hours of community service.
Andrew Carreon, who was arrested earlier this year for theft of a vehicle in Custer County, pled no contest to the charges of theft. Carreon’s attorney, David Brinegar, and prosecutor, Steven Bowers, had reached a plea agreement that if Carreon admitted to the theft of the vehicle, the state would recommend only 2-4 years of jail time. The theft, a class IIA felony, does carry a maximum sentence of 20 years with no minimum. After the facts of the case were presented to the court, Judge Noakes sentenced Carreon to 2-4 years to run concurrent with other charges in Buffalo County. She also ordered Carreon and two juveniles to pay restitution to the owner of the car in the amount of $500.
Richard Brass Jr. appeared before the court to hear sentencing on three separate cases. Attorney, Steven Bowers, stated before the court that he did believe that Brass Jr. did want to get better and improve his life. Bowers also said that it was troubling that while in drug court, Brass Jr. was attempting to sell marijuana. Brass Jr.’s attorney, Christopher Wickham, also stated that he too believed that Brass Jr. was looking to improve his life, but that putting him in jail for an extended amount of time would not be helpful.
After consideration, Judge Noakes, told Brass Jr., that she does believe that he is trying to turn his life around, but she was deeply disturbed that he attempted to sell marijuana during drug court. She also stated that it was obviously a business and not an addiction. Judge Noakes sentenced Brass Jr. to 3-5 years for a Burglary in 2016, 1-2 years for Possession in 2016, and 2-3 years for Attempt to Distribute in 2018. With 179 days credited served, Brass Jr. is to serve these sentences concurrent, while also paying restitution of $600.