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Archive for Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Reduced plea entered in case of poison attempt

September 20, 2005

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— An Edwardsville, Kan., woman accused last year of trying to poison her neighbor, the city's mayor, pleaded no contest Monday to two counts of criminal threat.

Donna Ozuna-Trout, who originally was charged with attempted first-degree murder, agreed to the plea bargain that likely will result in probation, her attorney said.

James Colgan said his client agreed to the deal rather than risk being convicted on the more serious charges and facing up to 16 years in prison.

"This reflects the problems the state was having with the case," Colgan said. "We had developed evidence, which the state would have disputed, that Donna was at work and it would have been physically impossible for her to mail that package."

Ozuna-Trout and her husband were accused of mailing contaminated cupcakes and pop in April 2004 to the home of Edwardsville Mayor Stephanie Eickhoff and her husband, James Eickhoff, a lieutenant in the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office.

Stephanie Eickhoff has said the two families were embroiled in an ongoing feud for the past five years, including lawsuits filed by each.

The mayor said her family received the package in late April bearing a Lenexa return address. Inside was a card addressed to her, her husband and their three children, ages 6, 8 and 14, she said.

Ozuna-Trout had said she thought Eickhoff concocted the poisoning scheme and planted evidence in Ozuna-Trout's garbage as part of the feud between the families. She said that she and her neighbor didn't get along because she is a minority and her husband is white.

Eickhoff called that accusation ridiculous.

With a maximum sentence of 17 months, Ozuna-Trout likely will get probation.

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