Court

A Laramie man was sentenced Tuesday in District Court to a one-year sentence that has him incarcerated for part of the sentence before serving the remainder of it on probation when a spot for inpatient substance abuse treatment becomes available. Nicholas Rierson, 26, pleaded guilty to accessory before the fact to aggravated burglary Aug. 29 in connection with a June burglary.

Tawnee Wright, 28, and Frank McKerlie, 30, were also charged with aggravated burglary in connection to the burglary.

Rierson was sentenced to 7-10 years in prison, which was suspended, and a one-year split sentence at the Albany County Detention Center until a spot opens at the treatment facility and starts his probation, District Court judge Tori Kricken said. She said the best way to help Rierson and the community would be to treat his substance abuse that was present before the burglary occurred.

“A long period of incarceration is not necessary,” Kricken said. “The uniqueness of the situation was considered when crafting the sentence (and) the overwhelming factor here is treatment.”

According to court documents, a Laramie Police Department officer was dispatched June 5 to an Albany County residence for a possible situation of individuals armed with a gun not allowing the resident to leave.

The property owner was taken into the garage and was told to place several items, such as a tent, a queen size air mattress and a sleeping bag, from his vehicle into their vehicle, court documents state.

The individuals attempted to flee from the residence and were stopped by another vehicle blocking their escape. When the officer arrived, he identified Rierson as the individual in the driver seat and another individual, who was speaking to the driver of the vehicle blocking them, as Wright, court documents state.

McKerlie allegedly returned to the scene to recover the vehicle and told the officer he fled when the victim called the police. He allegedly said he gave Wright a handgun before the incident in case something went wrong, court documents state.

When the officers searched her, Rierson and the vehicle, they found a handgun matching McKerlie’s description in the vehicle along with drugs, drug paraphernalia, knives, brass knuckles and items taken from the residence, court documents state.

McKerlie’s District Court sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 11, but he did not appear and has a warrant for his arrest. Wright is scheduled to appear Feb. 1-2 for jury trial.

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