A former Connecticut state trooper was sentenced on Friday to one year in jail for allegedly stealing personal belongings from the body of a dying motorcycle crash victim.
In an accident that occurred on the Merritt Parkway in September 2012, then-Trooper Aaron Huntsman reportedly took a gold crucifix worth about $5,000 and a wad of cash from the body of accident victim John Scalesse, who had crashed his bike into a construction company truck. Apparently, the incident was caught on the trooper’s dashcam video; that footage has not been released to the public, however.
The victim’s family members prompted state police detectives to investigate the lost property allegations. The trooper had allegedly told the family that he didn’t know what happened to the crucifix or the money.
Huntsman’s full sentence was five years in prison, with all but one year suspended, plus a probationary term of three years. In June, the trooper entered a guilty plea to third-degree larceny under what’s called the Alford doctrine.
Prosecutors had sought a 16-month term.
The Connecticut Post reports that “Huntsman, the first trooper at the crash scene, walked over to where Scalesse lay, bent down and picked up Scalesse’s gold chain from a pool of blood, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. He then took a roll of bills totaling $3,700 that had been in Scalesse’s pocket. Later, Huntsman told Scalesse’s grieving father that he didn’t see any money on the victim, the affidavit states. The cash was later found held with a rubber band under the front seat of Huntsman’s cruiser.”
A 20-year military veteran with almost the same amount of time on the state police before he resigned, ex-Trooper Huntsman told the sentencing judge, “I just want the court, the family, and those present here that care about me to know that the man that stands here today deserves to be punished… I’m truly sorry for everything, the pain the suffering… not even realizing the symbol of the crucifix caused so much hurt.”
Huntsman’s lawyer reportedly claimed that alcoholism and PTSD were at the heart of the incident.
Along with community service, the former state police officer will also be required to undergo substance abuse and mental heath treatment as part of the court sentence.
About how the Connecticut state trooper behaved after the tragic motorcycle wreck, Scalesse’s mother declared, “I cry constantly and I agonize over the thought of someone treating my son in the last moments of his beautiful life so disrespectfully. Stealing from anyone is shameful, but stealing a crucifix from a dying person is sacrilegious.”