Three indicted in Gear Up case fear being judged as 'scapegoats'
LAKE ANDES — Three people accused of helping embezzle almost $2 million in state and federal funds say they could face retribution in the courtroom for crimes they didn't commit.
Attorneys representing Dan Guericke, Stephanie Hubers and Stacy Phelps told a Charles Mix County judge Thursday that the money-funneling scheme and murder-suicide of a Platte family likely would taint their defense against the state's felony charges.
Clint Sargent, an attorney representing Hubers, asked that the court allow a trial by judge, rather than by jury, as a local body likely would seek vengeance for the deaths of Scott and Nicole Westerhuis along with their children. Jurors across the state likely also would know about the couple's embezzlement of more than $1 million intended for the education of Native American children through the Gear Up program.