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Posted: May 5, 2010  05:08

Long Criminal Record Lands Local Man In Prison


Boundary County Public Information
PO Box 419
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805

With a criminal record dating back to 2005, Cory S. Eccles, 21, Eastport, is bound for prison after pleading guilty to the burglary last year of a cabin on Deep Creek Loop.

The burglary at the unoccupied vacation cabin was discovered by a propane delivery man, and sheriff's investigators had few leads to work on. They narrowed the time frame of the burglary to sometime between Nov. 7 to 18, 2009, but found no latent prints. The front door window was smashed out, a five-pound rock found lying on the floor beside a smashed entertainment center. There were obvious signs of ransacking, but little else to go on.

But one of the items missing, a relatively rare and easily identifiable Winchester Model 1886 45-70-caliber Government lever action rifle, was tracked to the local man who'd purchased it, who was able to identify Eccles as the person who sold it to him. When deputies went to the travel trailer Eccles stays at on property in Eastport, he denied any knowledge of the gun, but items reported stolen in the burglary were discovered in the trailer.

Boundary County Prosecutor Jack Douglas was willing to make a plea offer, but refused to entertain any requests for leniency.

"Eccles has an abysmal record," Douglas wrote defense attorney Sera Woods during plea negotiations, "so I have to recommend prison." In another letter, he told her, "His criminal record is horrible and I have no reason to believe that anything short of prison can or will reach him. I have to think of the public and their needs. Accordingly, I will have to take a hard line here. Protection of the public is very important. Burglary is a serious offense."

Initially charged with burglary, a felony, being a felon in possession of a firearm, grand theft and malicious injury to property, Douglas offered to drop the felony grand theft charge to petit theft and dismiss the malicious injury to property if Eccles would plead guilty, but he'd go no farther. Going through his attorney, Eccles refused to consider a plea deal, asking for a sentencing recommendation of one to two years, asked that his bond be reduced to $40,000 even though he couldn't have bonded out.

"Not even close," Douglas responded, noting that even while in jail Eccles continued getting in trouble, having been disciplined for attempting to make alcohol from fruit juice November 24, 2009.

His trial was set for April 27, but Eccles had a change of heart and accepted Douglas' offer. On April 26, Judge Benjamin Simpson accepted Eccles' plea of guilt and sentenced him to two to five years in prison, a $1,000 fine, $425.50 court costs and $150 restitution on the burglary charge; two to five years and $150 court costs on the weapons charge, also a felony, and $150 and one year in jail on the charge of petit theft.


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