A 19-year veteran of the Connecticut State Police has accepted responsibility for stealing cash and jewelry from a deceased accident victim.
Aaron "AJ" Huntsman, 45, entered an Alford plea before a Larimer County judge on Wednesday, to third-degree larceny and tampering with evidence. The plea means Huntsman maintains his innocence, but believes there is a substantial likelihood that he would be found guilty.
Huntsman was arrested in November 2012, after an investigation into the theft of jewelry and cash from John Scalesse, a 49-year-old man who was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident in September 2012.
Authorities said Huntsman, a trooper based out of Bridgeport, was one of the emergency workers who responded to the scene of Scalesse's accident. After the accident, the victims' family notified police that his gold crucifix and $3,700 in cash were missing, Nbcconnecticut.com reported.
State Police investigators determined the items were not logged into evidence by Huntsman. An extensive investigation into the complaint was then launched and detectives located the missing jewelry and, "a large amount of cash from the police cruiser" Huntsman was driving, police said in a November 2012 press release.
According to The Connecticut Post, further examination of the police cruiser revealed the dashboard camera had captured video of Huntsman taking the jewelry from a pool of blood and the roll of bills from Scalesse.
After Huntsman entered his Alford plea on Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin reportedly said he plans to sentence Huntsman to 16 months behind bars and five years of probation. That sentence is expected to be handed down on Oct. 3.
"John didn't deserve his memory to be tarnished like this and we are finally glad it's almost over," Scalesse's mother, Marguerite Scalesse, told The Connecticut Post.
Huntsman was suspended from his job after he was arrested and remains free on bail until his sentencing.