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Saguache County thieves sentenced

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 4th, 2012

Richard Basinger, 67, and Carrie Dean, 50

Courier staff writer

SAGUACHE — After two failed attempts, 12th Judicial District Judge Martin Gonzales sentenced husband and wife duo Richard Basinger, 67, and Carrie Dean, 50, on Monday for felony theft convictions.

After hearing from the counsel and victims, Gonzales sentenced Basinger to four years in the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDC) with probation for class three-felony theft by receiving charges and restitution. He will pay victims Richard Slinko, Illinois, and Cam Benton, Texas, $26,414.10 and $5,736.10, respectively. He has served 136 days in jail.

The judge sentenced Dean, who was recently deferred from Pennsylvania courts, to four years in community corrections for class five-felony theft by receiving charges and a restitution payment to Slinko of $20,678. She has served 128 days in jail.

An additional civil settlement awarded the victims $65,000, which includes the criminal restitution and covers the victims’ travel expenses in addition to unrecoverable or damaged stolen goods. According to the defendants, they have refinanced their mortgage to make the payments, will pay swiftly and, if needed, cover the cost through the equity of their home.

In addition, Gonzales waived any additional fines in hopes any money the couple has will go to restitution.

The victims and 12th Judicial District Deputy Attorney Crista Maestas asked the court to give the thieves the maximum sentencing: 12 years in the CDC with five years parole and a potential $750,000 fine for Basinger, and three years in the CDC for Dean.

The minimum sentencing request for Basinger was a stint in community corrections and parole for Dean.

“It takes a little on your part today to work on the maximum level,” said Benton when addressing Gonzales. “That (the defendents’) behavior speaks for someone who can’t fit into society... We need that out of our neighborhood for as long as possible.”

Maestas added that sometimes when a vacation home is burgled, the court has an inclination to take the crime lightly.

“As a society, people want to be sure the place they spend their leisure time is safe,” Maestas said. “They believed they were safe, if not friends.”

The defendants both apologized to the court for their deeds, and Dean insisted that she was under her husband’s control, and it was not within her means to tell the authorities about the stolen goods she received. Gonzales, however, didn’t find their final pleas convincing.

“You heard the victims talk about the violation of trust,” Gonzales said to Basinger. “They want me to throw the book at you.”

He later added, “I see avoidance. A lot of words carefully crafted... I am concerned.”

The couple was originally scheduled for sentencing in September, but it did not take place because the district attorney’s office did not have its restitution request in order.

The sentencing was continued on November 16, but due to Dean’s attempt to take her life hours before the scheduled appearance, and Basinger’s decision to stay by her side, Gonzales could not decide the convicts’ fate. That afternoon, Basinger was arrested on a failure to appear bench warrant at the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center. After Dean was released from medical treatment, her bond was revoked and she was taken into custody alongside her husband in the Saguache County Jail.

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.

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 in Chaffee County on Wednesday regarding a stolen tractor and pending yesterday’s sentencing.

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