Suspect sentenced in burglary case - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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Suspect sentenced in burglary case

Woman also is implicated in murder case

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Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — A Cocolalla woman implicated in a Bonner County murder case was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday for her role in an unrelated pawn shop heist.

Jennifer Stephen Thrasher was also ordered to pay $8,116 in restitution and serve three years of probation, according to the terms of the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

Thrasher, whose maiden name is Dunnagan, pleaded guilty in July to stealing 33 firearms from Pawn Now in Ponderay during a December 2011 break-in.

Thrasher, her husband Austin, and Christopher Robin Garlin were arrested in January in connection with the burglary. While in custody, Garlin allegedly disclosed to investigators that he witnessed Austin Thrasher shoot Michael Wyatt Smith to death outside the Thrashers’ Cocolalla home the previous fall.

Jennifer Thrasher, according to court documents, ultimately led investigators to a shallow grave which held the body of Smith, 19. Authorities believe Smith was killed shortly after he disappeared in the fall of last year.

Austin Thrasher, 20, was charged with first-degree murder, although his case remains on hold because he has been deemed unfit to assist in his own defense due to mental health issues.

Jennifer Thrasher, 23, and Garlin, a 19-year-old from Clark Fork, were charged as accessories to murder for initially withholding knowledge of Smith’s killing.

All three defendants have remained in custody since their arrest for the Pawn Now burglary. They were originally charged with burglary in state court, although Jennifer Thrasher and Garlin’s cases were shifted to federal court, where they were prosecuted as part of Idaho’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program which aims to reduce gun violence in the state.

Austin Thrasher’s burglary case in Idaho’s 1st District Court is pending, although on hold due to the competency issue.

Garlin pleaded guilty to the Pawn Now burglary earlier this month and is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Jan. 13, 2013.

A binding plea agreement is pending in Garlin’s accessory case and he’s scheduled to enter a plea on Monday. The agreement seeks a sentence that will run concurrently with his sentence in the federal case.

The proposed terms of Garlin’s federal sentence are filed under seal, according to the federal courts database.

Jennifer Thrasher testified during a preliminary hearing in the murder case that she reached a plea agreement with the state, although the document has not been filed yet in district court. A pretrial conference is set for Nov. 8.

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