A Montrose man arrested on suspicion of threatening a woman on Haycamp Mesa and for trespassing has pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain with the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s office.
During a court appearance Thursday, John Austin Fusco, 37, pleaded guilty to charges of Class 5 felony menacing and Class 5 felony trespassing, separate incidents that occurred on Haycamp Mesa.
The plea bargain stipulates an eight-year prison sentence, which includes six years for aggravated menacing and two years for the trespassing at a private residence, according to court records. Sentences are to run consecutively.
In exchange for the guilty pleas and recommended sentence, charges of attempted kidnapping, second-degree assault and reckless driving would be dismissed.
The plea deal was presented by Assistant District Attorney Will Furse and defense attorney Kellan Schmelz. District Court Judge Doug Walker tentatively accepted it, but reserved the option to reject the deal up to sentencing. Sentencing is set for March 11.
When questioned by Walker about the specifics of the plea deal, Fusco stated “guilty as charged. I understand the severity. I have to pay for my mistakes.”
He remains in custody at the Montezuma County Detention Center.
Fusco was arrested Nov. 30 by the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office as a suspect in criminal behavior that took place Nov. 25 on Road 556 (Haycamp Road).
A woman called 911 and reported while driving she was threatened and assaulted by a man in a black truck, who investigators later identified as Fusco, according to arrest affidavits.
The woman reported Fusco harassed her, then aggressively followed and struck her vehicle from behind, which caused her to crash into an embankment. She reported he then approached by foot to her vehicle window and attempted to break in, but she was able drive away, according to Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin. She was not injured.
Several deputies and a Colorado Parks and Wildlife official conducted a “methodical search” of Haycamp Mesa roads, San Juan National Forest land and private land in the area for the suspect and black truck.
During the investigation, loggers in the Haycamp area reported seeing a man and truck that fit the description in the area, and a person cutting firewood reported seeing it on nearby private property.
Deputies then found a black pickup owned by Fusco with damage that was consistent with the alleged collision on the Haycamp Road, Nowlin said.
When Fusco was arrested, he was residing on private property with a yurt without permission from the landowner.