Iona man enters into last-minute plea bargain
SLAYTON -- With a prospective jury waiting nearby, Bradley Wayne Boje waited until the last possible moment before entering into a plea bargain with Murray County Attorney Paul Malone and the state.
Boje's trial was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but postponed to Friday. While prospective jurors watched a movie detailing their upcoming duties, Malone and defense attorney Cecil Naatz met with Judge David Christensen regarding a possible plea.
Boje, 28, of Iona, was charged in June with first-degree burglary, fleeing a peace officer, interference with privacy, trespass and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the criminal complaint, a teenage girl had called Murray County dispatch and said she had been awakened from sleep by Boje, who had come into her bedroom and turned on the light. Her father heard someone go down the stairs and leave through the front door, then saw a vehicle on the road near the residence pull out.
A deputy followed the vehicle the man had pointed out, but the truck did not stop until it arrived at a farm place. Boje was told to get out of the truck, but did not comply. The complaint states Boje just sat with his hands on the steering wheel, staring straight ahead. The deputy eventually used his taser to gain Boje's compliance.
The jurors were herded into a nearby room to wait while Boje took the stand and pleaded guilty to the burglary and interference charges. Christensen explained to him his rights and asked if he had any questions.
"I'd just like to apologize if I did any harm," Boje said, looking at the family whose home he had invaded. "I was just out walking and in the wrong place at the wrong time."
During a plea hearing, a defendant is required to answer questions under oath to admit his guilt in the charges for which he is pleading guilty.
Under questioning by his own attorney, Boje said he had been in the Avoca Bar on June 5 and had half a dozen drinks. After being told he would not be served any more liquor, he told the judge he left angry and went out to his truck to smoke more marijuana. Naatz asked how much marijuana he had smoked around that time.
"I had just picked up some really good bud...," Boje answered. "I hadn't had that good of pot in 10 years."
He admitted he was also on several prescription medications and not supposed to drink while he was taking them. He said he had a few more hits while sitting in his truck outside the bar, then left in his vehicle while pulling a loaded car trailer. He added he thought he drove toward Iona, and later pulled off the road to park and smoke some more pot.
He acknowledged walking into a nearby house around midnight.
"There was no party there?" Naatz asked.
"I don't think so, but I was confused," Boje stated.
He said he went up the stairs and started opening doors, then turned a light on in one of the rooms, which "brought him to his senses."
In the room, he said he saw a young girl, who told him to get out, so he shut the light off and left. He said he walked back to his truck and took a few more marijuana hits, then drove home.
Boje stated he didn't know who owned the house at the time.
Under questioning by Malone, Boje stated he knows the people whose house he entered; he just didn't know they lived there at the time. He acknowledged the owner of the house owns a business he has patronized, where he has met the man's teenage daughter.
He told Malone he had heard there was a party, and thought it was at the house.
"Didn't you tell the deputy later you were hoping to get a look at one of the girls?" Malone asked.
"I was just trying to get him off my back," Boje responded.
"When the deputy asked what would have happened if her father came in with a gun, didn't you tell him you hoped (the man) was a good shot?" Malone questioned.
Boje gave a disjointed, mumbled reply, and when asked if he had told the deputy the truth, said, "I pulled that out guessing. I knew I had no reason to be there, and he kept asking me over and over, so I pulled that one out of the blue."
During the questioning, the teenage victim wept quietly as her father held her tight. As he left the stand, Boje mumbled a second apology to the family.
Per the plea agreement, sentencing will be left to the court. Christensen said the guidelines call for a stay of imposition of a 23-month sentence, with supervised parole. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, and Boje was released to await sentencing, which was scheduled for Jan. 4, 2010. Until that time, the $15,000 bond remains in effect, Boje is to have no contact with the family, use no illegal drugs or alcohol and is subject to random testing by both probation and law enforcement.