By Joshua Scheer, reporter, county10.com
(Riverton, Wyo.) – Charged with a string of 20 burglaries that occurred in the Riverton area in spring 2012, 20-year-old Stephanie Janae Whitman pleaded guilty on her birthday yesterday, Jan. 8. In all of the burglaries, allegedly only cash was taken.
Whitman pleaded guilty to two felony burglary charges and one misdemeanor count of criminal entry as part of a plea agreement in the case.
Without the agreement, both felony charges carry punishments up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Per the agreement however, Whitman will be sentenced to between four and eight years in prison for each felony. “The sentence shall be suspended and the Defendant shall be place on 5 years supervised probation, to run concurrent,” states the agreement.
For the misdemeanor, Whitman will be sentenced to no more than six months in the Fremont County Detention Center. Restitution will also be paid.
Whitman was required to give a factual account of the burglaries to accompany her plea.
The burglary charges allege that Whitman entered or remained in buildings with the intent to commit larceny at six homes on Delfelder Road, one on East Jefferson Avenue, one on South Third Street East, one on Washington, one on East Madison, one on Monroe Court, one on Young Road, two on North Smith Road, three on Burma Road, one on Haymaker, one on Kasper Lane, and on Dalley Road.
The criminal entry charge named a single address on Jennings Road. All of the burglaries were alleged to have taken place between April and mid-June 2012.
At the start of her testimony Whitman told Ninth District Court Judge Norman E. Young that it was her birthday and she was turning 20. She said she was a Central Wyoming College student at the time of the crimes, studying mental health. Since being out on bond, Whitman said she has sought treatment for herself.
She then went on to explain the circumstances surrounding the burglaries.
“I met a guy and got into a too-serious-too-fast relationship,” she said.
Whitman explained that she became pregnant and had an abortion.
“I got seriously depressed and used a lot of marijuana to deal with it,” she said.
As she started needing money, the burglaries began. Per Young’s questioning, Whitman said the boyfriend was not involved in the crimes.
Whitman explained she would knock on doors and if no one answered she would try to find a way in. If someone did come to the door, she said she would make up an excuse for the being there like looking for a puppy or “an excuse that wasn’t suspicious.” She said doors were answered two or three times.
Whitman said she only took money or change, and occasionally the container the change was in. She said she tried to leave the homes as she found them and didn’t take Playstations, valuables or family heirlooms.
Young asked her if she remembered any of the homes specifically. “Everything now is just sort of a blur,” she said. Young responded, “It’s a lot places to keep track of.”
Whitman said she did not dispute any of the addresses listed with the charges.
Following her testimony, Young ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed. Her bond was continued. Young also allowed her to cease twice-a-day check-ins with the Riverton Police Department in exchange for one urine analysis per week.