Courier staff writer
SAGUACHE — Carrie Dean’s suicide attempt and her husband’s choice to stay by her side has delayed their criminal felony sentencing, again.
12th Judicial District Judge Martin Gonzales’ court convicted Dean, 50, and her husband, Richard Basinger, 67, of theft by receiving earlier this year. On Friday, the pair was to appear for a second sentencing date for knowingly possessing thousands of dollars of stolen property, but did not due to Dean’s decision to try to take her life. Gonzales found Dean’s absence acceptable since she was admitted to the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center (SLVRMC) in Alamosa, but issued Basinger a $50,000 cash bond failure to appear warrant despite pleas from his attorney, David Michael Lipka, and with encouragement from 12th Judicial District deputy attorney Crista Maestas.
“I object to the defendant not appearing,” Maestas said. “Mr. Basinger is not hospitalized at the moment.”
The Alamosa Police Department arrested Bassinger yesterday at the SLVRMC. Saguache County Sheriff Norris said his deputies were en route to the Alamosa County Jail to bring Bassinger to the Saguache County Jail late Friday afternoon.
Dean is being held in the hospital for at least three days, according to Lipka.
In September, the sentencing was continued because the district attorney’s office did not have its restitution request in order.
Although sentencing was not executed yesterday, council informed the judge they had reached agreeable restitution figures for victims Richard Slinko and Cam Benton. Gonzales set the continuation for Monday, Dec. 3 at 1:30 p.m., and Slinko will travel from Illinois and Benton from Texas to address the court, both turning down an offer to participate in the sentencing through video conferencing.
“My main concern is expediency,” said Benton, who had a tractor and other machinery stolen from his property. “With him running around our neighborhood, we have a cancer that is causing a lot of unrest.”
Maestas said the court should ask the convicts to pay Slinko $20,678, which is included in an additional civil settlement awarding the victims $65,000. Benton, who did not have a civil case, should receive $4,882.10 in restitution.
“This is a mess,” Gonzales said. “This is a case that has gone on way too long.”
In March, Dean and Basinger were arrested for burglary, theft and criminal mischief after Saguache County Sheriff’s Office deputies found thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods on their property. Lacking evidence of burglary and criminal mischief, they were eventually found guilty of theft by receiving.
Dean and Basinger were taken into custody nine months ago, and Basinger posted bail, but did not stay out for more than a few days, according to sheriff’s reports. The night he was released, a pair of Slinko’s Road T neighbors notified the sheriff’s office of a suspicious 28-foot Gooseneck trailer on the Basinger/Dean property filled with items from his gutted cabin, two tractors and a four-wheeler.
The sheriff’s office connected the tractors to Benton’s unsolved case, according to sheriff’s reports. He was contacted and discovered that it was his tractor, but not the one originally stolen over a year and a half ago. Additional searches revealed more items from the 2010 burglary and a second Saguache County warrant was issued for Basinger’s arrest. He was taken into custody on March 31 with bail set at $100,000 for theft by receiving. He joined Dean, who had been in custody since March 28 with bail set at $100,000 for being a fugitive of justice out of Pennsylvania and second-degree burglary.
The pair posted bond on July 28 after Dean’s bond was reduced. They pleaded not guilty on April 10 and remained in custody at the Saguache County jail for three months.
The stolen goods, which are in excess of 100 items, came from the Slinkos’ cabin located in North Tracy Canyon off of Saguache County Road T, according to sheriff’s reports. The items were stolen between November 2011 and February 2012, when the burglary was first reported to the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office.
At that time, deputies also found a small red tractor in a garage that fit the description of a Kubota Tractor stolen from Alamosa County, according to sheriff’s reports. The Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant, but when they arrived in North Tracy Canyon, the tractor was gone. Three days later, a friend of Slinko’s visited the Road T properties and discovered the tractor, which was instead a Massey Ferguson, parked under a tree when it should have been parked in Salida.
Additional stolen items include solar panels and batteries, chainsaws, home furnishings, home appliances, outdoor recreation equipment, DVDs, CDs, audio/visual equipment, a satellite dish and wood laminated flooring.
Dean and Basinger are scheduled for a status conference in Chaffee County on Wednesday regarding a stolen tractor and pending yesterday’s continuance.