Nye burglar pleads for another chance, judge says no

Thursday, June 3, 2021
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Stetson Lee Hubbard (Montana DOC photo) 

A twice-convicted felon was sent back to state custody last week for violating the terms of his 2018 probation by committing a new crime, using alcohol and not heeding to sanctions handed down by his probation officer.

Stetson Lee Hubbard, 30, pleaded with Judge Matt Wald for another chance to remain free and get his life straightened out.

“I come to you has a human…who made a bad decision by not showing up for court,” Hubbard said in reference to a previous court hearing that he had skipped. “You’re in this to help. I need help.”

Hubbard, through his defense attorney, also asked for the sentencing to be continued as he had bonded out of jail the day prior and wanted some time to “get his affairs in order.”

Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde objected to the continuance and Wald agreed, based on Hubbard’s continued violations of release orders.

Rohde and the defense jointly recommended a 5-year Department of Corrections (DOC) commitment, with Rohde adding that Hubbard’s addiction issue needs to be addressed in a “structured setting.”

Wald imposed a 5-year DOC sentencing, saying that there was no information before him that indicated Hubbard would change on his own. He said the sentence provided treatment options, structure, accountability and took into consideration Hubbard’s history of non-compliance.

Hubbard was then remanded back into custody, but not before telling Wald that his attorney had not represented him sufficiently.

In 2018, Hubbard received a 7-year suspended sentence to DOC for felony burglary and theft. He was ordered to pay approximately $4,300 in restitution and a $1,000 fine. At that time, DOC a probation/parole raised concerns about the sentence, saying the DOC had “major concerns” about placing Hubbard in the community.

Hubbard was ranked as the highest risk level to reoffend in his DOC pre-sentencing report and an assessment revealed chemical dependency and criminal thinking issues.

THE CASE

On Dec. 2, 2014, the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a window broken on a home on Limestone Road in Nye, according to court documents. Deputy Ren Crain responded and found the home had been forcibly entered. Heavy snowfall showed two different shoe impressions outside of the home, which Crain photo-graphed.

A neighbor opened the home, as the owner was out-of-state. Crain observed property had been pulled from cabinets, and drawers had been left open throughout the house. A large TV was missing.

A broken window was determined to be the point of entry. Crain photographed and collected blood samples from the area and sent them to the Montana Department of Justice Forensic Science Division.

Six days later, police were summoned back to the home when a neighbor who had been cleaning discovered a small writing pad that had been overlooked initially. Written on the pad was “IOU LOTS IM SORRY,” according to court documents. In all, property missing included the TV, a five-surround sound speaker system, a CD player, a VCR, 10 VCR movies and 20 CDs, according to court documents.

Four months after sending off the blood evidence, Crain was notified by the state forensic lab that the DNA on the glass was a match to Hubbard, a Colorado “arrestee” who was identified through the national DNA Index System, according to court documents.

The Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office had multiple contacts with Hubbard before and after the burglary.

Then Stillwater County Sheriff’s Chief Investigator Woody Claunch tracked Hubbard down to a jail in Brighton, Colo., and enlisted the help of law enforcement there in interviewing Hubbard about the Stillwater case.

According to court documents, Hubbard told Colorado authorities that “here membered driving around drunk one night” and getting his vehicle stuck.

He knocked on the door of “a brown house” and when he got no answer, he entered the home and went to sleep, according to court documents.

When asked if he took anything from the home, Hubbard said when he woke up “he had a flat screen TV in his truck” and also took movies and a blanket.