Plea Agreement/Heibel Avoids Life Sentence 02 Jul 13

An East Bethel man entered a plea agreement in Meeker County District Court Monday which will help him avoid a life prison term.

KWLM reports 37-year-old Robert Heibel has previous sex convictions in 1995 and 1997, and this past November was charged for allegedly kissing and groping a 10-year-old girl at a friend’s house in Litchfield. The girl told her brother who told the girl’s parents.

Heibel was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of criminal sexual conduct and his trial was to have begun today (Tuesday), but Heibel instead entered an Alford Plea, in which he does not admit guilt but admits there was enough evidence to convict him.

If he had been convicted of his third sex crime he could have been sentenced to life in prison but instead will likely face less than 4 years in prison.

Level three sex offenders are the most likely to re-offend, but prosecutors say they allowed Heibel to enter the plea agreement and avoid the life sentence because they didn’t want the little girl and her brother to go through the trauma of testifying at a trial.