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Accused robber has to convince judge to accept his guilty plea

Published: Wednesday, April 13 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — An accused credit union robber and his attorney had to do some talking to convince a judge that all he wanted to do was to plead guilty.

Plea bargains in which the defense and the prosecution reach an agreement to drop or reduce a charge in exchange for the possibility of less jail time are common in the justice system.

But John Edward Dean, 37, didn't care about any of that during a hearing in federal court Wednesday. He just wanted to plead straight up to robbing Goldenwest Credit Union in Ogden last November.

The decision seemed to surprise Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells. She asked about an agreement between the government and Dean. She tried to make sure prosecutors weren't offering a recommendation for a reduced sentenced or other concessions.

Dean's attorney, Stephen McCaughey, told the judge his client, who he described as a "career offender," didn't care about any of that.

"He pleading guilty, and that's it," he said.

Before accepting the plea, Wells described the robbery in which Dean handed a note to the teller demanding cash and saying, in part, "no dye packs or GPS tracking or I'll shoot you all." He then, Wells said, displayed a black BB gun in his waistband.

Dean, who has Aryan nation and white pride tattoos, took issue with part of the judge's account. "I never actually showed her a gun," he said. "She didn't know I had a gun."

Nonetheless, after conferring with his lawyer, he pleaded guilty. Sentencing, which Dean wanted as soon as possible, is scheduled for June 16.

Dennis Romboy

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