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Plea agreements reached in two Murray County cases

SLAYTON -- Two Murray County men entered into plea agreements and another was questioned about possible probation violations during a busy morning in Murray County District Court.

Matthew John Reese, 27, of Lake Wilson, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree burglary and one count of third-degree assault.

Reese was accused in October of illegally entering his ex-girlfriend's house and confronting her, then assaulting the man who tried to intervene. The man ended up in the hospital with numerous contusions and internal bleeding after Reese allegedly kicked him repeatedly with heavy work boots.

The plea agreement states Reese will serve 270 days in jail with credit for time served and work release. He will be on probation for seven years and is to attend anger management classes. Restitution has yet to be determined.

During questioning, Reese admitted he entered the house without consent and assaulted the man, inflicting substantial bodily harm.

A pre-sentence investigation has been ordered, and sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Currently, there is a no-contact order in place that forbids Reese to contact the ex-girlfriend. His attorney asked that it be lifted, as she is due to have Reese's child soon.

Murray County Attorney Paul Malone said a request in writing is needed from the woman before the request can be lifted.

Also Monday, Chase Michael Sanderson, 26, of Slayton, entered into a plea bargain with the state, pleading guilty to a third-degree controlled substance crime. He was charged in November with several counts of controlled substance after authorities discovered a marijuana grow operation in Cameron Township.

Sanderson admitted Monday he planted the marijuana and that the resulting plants were in excess of five kilograms. Under questioning from Malone, he said he was sent to jail on an unrelated charge and made arrangements for other people to water the plants while he was incarcerated.

The plea agreement is for 270 days of jail -- with credit for time served and work release -- and going through a chemical use assessment. The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation, with sentencing to take place Sept. 8.

In a third case, 20-year-old Daniel Jay Woitaszewski appeared for a probation violation hearing, which was continued until next Monday so a deputy can testify.

On the stand, Woitaszewski told the judge he knew he had "screwed up," but that his "head is on straight now."

"Sending me to jail won't help with anything," he said. "It would put me back a few steps."

Woitaszewski said he would much rather go to treatment because he has a chemical abuse problem. The death of a family member caused him a lot of stress, he said, which contributed to his troubles.

"I don't want to go back to jail," he remarked. "There is a lot of emotional stress there."

Woitaszewski was originally jailed for theft, property damage and burglary, but is accused of stealing DVDs and also has charges pending for assault, disorderly conduct and fleeing a peace officer after he was allegedly found by a deputy at a drinking party.

When picked up on a warrant, he was tested for alcohol and narcotics, and registered a positive result for THC at an amount his probation officer Jeffrey Arendt described as "off the scale."

According to Arendt, Woitaszewski was arrested for crime roughly a week after being let out of jail. He recommended execution of the man's full sentence "due to the number of violations in a short proximity of time."

Woitaszewski's attorney asked if there was some other alternative to full jail time, such as serving weekends.

"We've already gone that route," Arendt replied. "At this time, weekends wouldn't be significant."

Because Woitaszewski is now employed full-time, Arendt said he would not be opposed to work release.

When Woitaszewski contradicted some information in a deputy's report, a decision to continue the hearing until the deputy was available was made.

"We could just hold him in custody until next week," Malone commented.

"Or charge him with perjury," Judge David Christensen replied.

The judge recommended Woitaszewski "bring his toothbrush" when he showed up for Monday's continuance, because with the number of violations Woitaszewski was facing, "there is going to be some jail time."