Man pleads ignorance to break-ins
Trotter sentenced to 15 months, ordered to pay $30K for destroying truck, property
Jade Levi Trotter didn’t know anything about breakins to three businesses last year, and he wasn’t in possession of a stolen pickup truck around the same time. At least, that’s what he claimed Tuesday during his trial in Lethbridge provincial court.
But Judge Sylvia Oishi didn’t buy his story, and sentenced the 34-year-old man to 15 months in jail, and ordered him to pay restitution of nearly $30,000 for destroying a truck and for property damaged and items stolen when he and others broke into LA Chefs Catering and Events, Spitz Stadium, and Triangle Gas and Wash in August and September 2016.
The Crown’s key witness, Jonathan Alexander Kogler, admitted he was one of three men involved in the break-ins, and Trotter was another. Kogler testified they used crowbars to break into LA Chefs, but only “checked things out.” Trotter and another man returned later and stole about $3,000 worth of alcohol.
While looking for another “good score,” the trio broke into Spitz Stadium and Trotter and the other man stole $300 worth of liquor. Trotter was also in on the break-in to Triangle Gas and Wash on another occasion, in which he and another man stole more than $4,000 worth of cigarettes while Kogler waited in his truck two blocks away.
“That was a pretty bad time in my life,” Kogler told court.
Kogler also said he had seen Trotter driving a black F150 truck, which had been reported stolen. That truck was later found in the coulees where it had been set on fire.
Kogler, who is scheduled to be sentenced next month, denied defence accusations that he was lying to protect his girlfriend, who worked at LA Chefs at the time, and had given the men a description of the business. He also denied a suggestion he had made a deal with police for his statement incriminating Trotter.
Trotter’s defence was brief. When asked if he was involved in any of the break-ins, he simply said no. In fact, he said he didn’t even know where LA Chefs or Spitz Stadium is located, even though he has lived in Lethbridge for all but two years of his life.
Lawyer Miranda Hlady told court that even though Kogler admitted he was involved in the crimes and implicated Trotter, there is nothing — no videos or fingerprints — tying her client to any of the break-ins or to the possession of the stolen truck.
Oishi, however, said Kogler’s testimony is credible and he has no reason to lie about Trotter’s involvement. She also noted Trotter’s criminal record, which is two decades long and comprises numerous property related offences.
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