Jolly enters plea in aggravated burglary case, cancels jury trial

LYNDON, Kan. – An Overbrook man cancelled his jury trial Monday morning by entering a “no contest” plea to a charge of aggravated burglary, as 39 potential jurors waited in another room for the trial to begin.

Bruce A. Jolly, 49, of Overbrook, was charged with aggravated burglary and other crimes in October last year after an Oct. 8, 2015, incident during which Overbrook resident Ashley Mundy shot Jolly after she found him inside her home. Emergency personnel found Jolly lying in the street bleeding after responding to 911 calls from him and Mundy.

Appearing before Osage County District Judge Phillip Fromme on Aug. 29, 2016, prior to the start of his scheduled jury trial, Jolly and his attorney Bryan Hastert told the court that a plea agreement had been reached with Osage County Attorney Brandon Jones.

As outlined by Jones, the agreement allowed Jolly to plead no contest to aggravated burglary in exchange for dismissal of all other charges against him, including two charges of felony vehicle burglary, and misdemeanor charges for theft and criminal damage to property. The agreement also provided that Jones would recommend a sentence of 40 months in prison, which would depart from a sentence of 57 months as designated by state sentencing guidelines. Jones also noted that Jolly would receive credit for the time served in the Osage County Jail since he was arrested last year, and would be eligible for good time credit, which would require Jolly to serve about 24 months total in custody of the Kansas Department of Corrections.

During the hearing, Jones said that a plea agreement had previously been offered to Jolly, but Jolly had not accepted it. In January, Jolly fired his court-appointed attorney William Bayne, with one complaint lodged against Bayne that he had encouraged Jolly to accept a plea agreement. Hastert confirmed that his client had decided only that morning to accept the plea deal.

As requested by Fromme, Jones offered a statement of facts to support the charge against Jolly, saying that on Oct. 8, 2015, Jolly had unlawfully entered the home of Ashley Mundy at her residence in Overbrook, when Mundy and her 4-year-old child were in the home, with the intent to commit theft or other felony. Jones said evidence showed Jolly had entered the basement of the home, and Mundy shot him when she encountered him near the home’s front door.

Questioned by the judge, Jolly said he accepted Jones’ statement as a factual basis for the charge. Fromme then accepted Jolly’s plea of no contest, and found him guilty of felony aggravated burglary. Fromme reminded Jolly the court is not bound by plea negotiations and the judge can set sentences as he deems appropriate.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 17, 2016, with Jolly to undergo a pre-sentence investigation in the meantime.

Hastert was appointed by the court as Jolly’s attorney in January after the court allowed Jolly to fire Bayne. Although he had court-appointed representation, Jolly had submitted a series of handwritten motions from jail, where he had been held on $110,000 bond since his arrest. The motions included his request to fire Bayne, requests for reduction of bond, requests for charges to be dismissed, and a petition to suppress evidence obtained during search warrants executed at Jolly’s home and the victim’s.

Following Monday’s cancelled jury trial, Fromme invited all of the jurors into the courtroom, where he thanked them for appearing, and explained the circumstances of the case that led to the jury trial being cancelled. Fromme said any of the jurors who appeared would be eligible to serve on a jury in the future and he instructed them to contact the court clerk if they wanted to serve. The judge also told the jurors they could be excused from jury duty for one year if they wished.

See related stories:
Burglary suspect fires attorney, postpones arraignment
Victim testifies she shot intruder in her home

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