A veteran Connecticut state trooper faces a year and a half in prison after he pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stealing a dying motorcyclist’s cash and gold crucifix at the scene of a 2012 crash.
Aaron “AJ” Huntsman, 45, was caught by his own dashboard camera stealing the items belonging to John Scalesse, who was killed on Sept. 22, 2012 after his motorcycle crashed into a construction company truck in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Huntsman, a 19-year veteran of the state police force, pleaded guilty to two felonies: third-degree larceny and tampering with evidence. Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin imposed a term in prison of 16 months and then five years of probation, opposed to the possible 10 years Huntsman could have received.
The former trooper’s plea was made under the Alford Doctrine, meaning Huntsman did not admit guilt but is conceding that there is high probability he would be found guilty if the case went to trial. After the plea, the judge then found Huntsman guilty.
Upon sentencing on October 3, Huntsman has the right to argue for a lesser term.
Huntsman left the courtroom on Wednesday “with a big smile on his face following the hearing,” the Connecticut Post reported. Huntsman declined to offer comment at the time.
Huntsman was the first trooper on the scene after Scalesse, a former executive of the JAS Masonry, crashed on the Merritt Parkway in 2012. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Huntsman approached Scalesse as he lay dying and picked up Scalesse’s gold chain from a pool of blood. The trooper then took a roll of bills totaling $3,700 from Scalesse’s pocket. Huntsman later told Scalesee’s father that he did not find any money on the victim, according to the affidavit.
The money was later found under the front seat of Huntsman’s cruiser. Connecticut state police said the trooper maintained his innocence even after he was shown the video, from his own dashboard camera, of him taking the money.
“John didn’t deserve his memory to be tarnished like this and we are finally glad it’s almost over,” said Scalesse’s mother, Marguerite Scalesse, the Post reported. “After all we have gone through we are glad that he (Huntsman) at least didn’t make us go through a trial.”