COTTONWOOD -- Jason Bunescu, 30, was told Thursday that charges he faces in two separate cases could bring a sentence of 670 years in prison if convicted of every charge at trial and sentenced to the maximum term.
Instead, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Michael Bluff told the defendant Thursday that he would not die in prison if he agrees to a plea.
Bunescu was already on probation when he was arrested for investigation of the Bridgeport's Garcia Market armed robbery. Five charges for that incident were dismissed at trial when evidence and the testimony of a single eye witness were not convincing.
Still, that incident triggered an investigation and police closed numerous cases that involved Bunescu, mainly for trafficking in stolen property, taking the identity of another and credit card fraud. The several cases originally were bundled with the Garcia charges and now 23 charges remain that were not dismissed in the first case and two charges remain from a second case.
A stipulation in the proposed plea is that Bunescu serve no more than 20 years, but his attorney, Jared Kennan, called that "extremely harsh" and continued to argue with the judge that the maximum should be lower than that, even considering time for the probation violation.
Bunescu was on probation for a 2011 conviction for DUI that included a narcotic violation.
Bluff said, "Enough time in prison is enough. I don't believe Mr. Bunescu needs to go to prison for the rest of his life."
The defense attorney asked for a one week continuance to "digest the plea and speak to his parents."