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FAIRFIELD — The attorney for a man accused by the state of robbing a Jefferson County bank has asked for a delay in pretrial proceedings, raising questions about whether the trial will begin next month as scheduled.

Prosecutors accuse Ross Thornton of robbing the Pilot Grove Savings Bank in Packwood in June 2018. His trial was scheduled to begin Dec. 10. But his attorney has asked for a continuance, saying he will be at a professional conference on the date currently scheduled for the pretrial conference.

Thornton faces a possible 25-year sentence.

Thornton is one of three men accused in the case. Jordan Crawford was convicted by a jury of aiding and abetting first-degree robbery and of ongoing criminal conduct last month. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 3, 2020.

The third defendant, Ethan Spray, is scheduled to have a plea hearing on Jan. 21.

Thornton and Spray also face charges in connection to a Keokuk County bank robbery. That case is pending while the Jefferson County case proceeds.

In other area cases:

• Shain Major has sent the court a letter asking to fire his public defender. In the letter, Major said he has been unable to contact his attorney and would like to have a new one. Major faces charges of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder.

• Diego Gutierrez will be sentenced on Jan. 6, 2020, after reaching a plea agreement on drug trafficking charges, despite a defense request for immediate sentencing. Benjamin Bergmann, Gutierrez’s attorney, wrote in a sentencing brief that Gutierrez’s history “suggests that resolving his substance abuse issues would likely resolve his involvement in the criminal justice system.”

The brief also said the prosecution and defense “jointly recommend that Mr. Gutierrez be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence not to exceed 25 years” for possessing more than five grams of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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