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Plea deal delayed in Hillygus, Handte kidnapping case


A plea by two criminal defendants scheduled to be announced today did not materialize. Roger Hillygus and Stewart Handte, both accused of kidnapping Hillygus’s mother in 2019, showed up again in court today to enter negotiated pleas.

That didn’t happen. The hearing was scheduled late yesterday for the parties to announce a plea deal this morning. But neither the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office nor the defendants were ready to announce pleas.

The case concerns the arrest of Hillygus and Handte, who are alleged to have kidnapped Hillygus’ mother four years ago from a care facility in Reno. They then drove her to Los Angeles. Both were arrested by a SWAT team after a standoff.

Hillygus today instead, again, accused the DA of withholding evidence that he said exonerates him.

“There’s still a lot of unanswered questions,” he said. “If we want to enter into some more negotiations, some of this evidence that they’re withholding and suppressing needs to come forward because that’s what justice is about — is about the truth.”

Amos Stege from the DA’s office also said both parties had not reached agreements.

District Court Judge Barry Breslow then rescheduled the plea hearing for Sept. 22. The case was scheduled to go to a jury trial two weeks ago before the two parties agreed to enter settlement negotiations.

Breslow said he would not hold the Sept. 22 hearing unless a signed plea was provided to the court before the hearing.

“I don’t want to do this a second time where we get dressed up and ready to go, and we’re not ready,” he said.

If a presumed guilty plea is not presented, Breslow said he would reschedule a trial.

“I hope you’re able to bridge some of these issues,” he said. “If we’re not ready, I’m going to reset the trial. I don’t know how more clear I can make it.”

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.