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Charges reduced in Sinks Canyon shooting

Dec 18, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Prosecutors have reached a new plea agreement in the case of a Jan. 31 shooting in Sinks Canyon. On Sept. 18, District Court Judge Marvin L. Tyler rejected the first deal parties struck.

Under a new agreement filed Dec. 12, defendant Jeremy Wade Cunningham, 36, of Lander, would plead guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and battery, one in connection with each alleged victim.

For each charge, Cunningham would be sentenced to six to 10 years in prison to be served concurrently.

He has change of plea and sentencing hearing scheduled for Feb. 19.

The prison time, however, would be suspended in favor of five years supervised probation, and he would have to complete an inpatient addiction treatment program lasting at least 90 days starting immediately after sentencing. He will be ordered to pay $4,200 in restitution and attend an aftercare program after the inpatient one.

Sentencing also would not take place until January, according to the agreement. By that time, he would have been in jail for about a year and likely would receive credit against his prison sentence for that time served.

While in the in-patient and aftercare programs, Cunningham would receive credit against his probation and for time served.

Effectively, the plea agreement would have Cunningham serve one year behind bars and three months in an in-patient treatment program after which he would go to an aftercare program. If he completes those, he would serve whatever is remaining of his five years probation and then be a free man.

Were he not to complete treatment or were he to violate terms of his probation, he would serve six to ten years in prison.

Prosecutors originally charged Cunningham with three counts of attempted second-degree murder and three of aggravated assault.

One charge of each crime was connected to each of the three alleged victims.

Court documents allege Cunningham shot four times at three people on Jan. 31 on Sinks Canyon Road, reportedly after a "road rage" incident. No one was injured.

The agreement Tyler rejected in September would have had Cunningham plead guilty to two counts of aggravated assaulted and dropped the other charges. It stipulated a sentence of 18 to 48 months in prison, but Cunningham would get credit for more than seven months in custody since his Feb. 1 arrest.

The judge rejected the first deal because it would have dropped one victim from the case, and Cunningham would not have had enough time to undergo the addiction treatment his pre-trial investigation recommended, Tyler said.

Cunningham was allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas after the judge rejected the plea agreement, and prosecutors reinstated the third aggravated assault charge.

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