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Brooke County embezzlement plea agreement hits snag

Updated: Thursday, May 29 2014, 01:39 PM EDT

WTOV9.com
BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va. -- A Brooke County woman accused of embezzlement was expected to learn her punishment in court Thursday. Instead she'll have to wait a while longer.
Debra Baker was scheduled to enter a guilty plea. Part of the agreement reached by both the prosecution and the defense was that Baker would participate in a mental health court program through the county.  The judge took issue with the fact that Baker has not yet been evaluated.
The 61-year-old sat mostly silent, prepared to admit her role in taking thousands of dollars from the United School Service Employee Association of West Virginia, a union that represents non-teachers, like bus drivers and cafeteria workers.
The amount taken was close to $13,000, much of it stolen when baker allegedly wrote checks to herself.
It was learned that she's already paid most of that money back, which is a big part of why both sides were able to reach the proposed agreement.
"Obviously, it would have been nice to get it concluded," Brooke County Prosecutor Joe Barki said. "But today, I think for all the parties -- both the victim and the defendant -- would have liked to end this matter and move forward. But we need to make sure everything is done appropriately and not just rush into these things, given the real effects it has and the serious nature of the offense. So we'll take the time and get the evaluation done."
There are several other stipulations in the proposed plea agreement -- one being that Baker remove herself from any other boards she serves on.  
Scheduling and results of that mental health evaluation could take several weeks. For that reason, the judge set a new date of July 2 to address this outstanding plea agreement.

Brooke County embezzlement plea agreement hits snag


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