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Robbery suspect may change plea

Robbery suspect may change plea

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A Colorado teen suspected of participating in a November robbery and high-speed police chase won't be going to trial next week as previously scheduled.

Instead, a change of plea hearing for James Gore, 18, has been set for May 18, court records show. That could indicate that a plea agreement is in the works. Earlier this year, two of Gore's codefendants pleaded guilty to reduced charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

Natrona County District Attorney Michael Blonigen would not comment on the change and Gore's attorney, Donald Tolin, did not return calls Tuesday.

Gore faces four charges including conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty in February.

Prosecutors have already offered plea agreements to two of the six men and boys accused of robbing the Sunset Grill in Alcova and leading police on a high-speed chase, during which officers were fired upon.

In March, Michael Garren, 19, pleaded guilty to four charges, including conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. A month earlier, Daniel Merwin, 16, pleaded guilty to three felony charges as part of an agreement that allows him to avoid a life sentence.

Both agreed to testify in the trials of the other men and boys charged in connection with the incident.

Trials for the three other defendants - Paul Howell, 29; Johnathan Milligan, 16; and Steven Liljedahl, 16; are set for later this year in Natrona County District Court.

Authorities say on Nov. 29 the six men and boys were driving through Wyoming on their way to Montana in a stolen Dodge pickup truck when the group decided to rob the Sunset Grill. They held up the bar at gunpoint and made off with $260.

Afterward, the group agreed that if they were pulled over by a police officer, they would shoot him, Garren told the court at his change of plea hearing.

A Natrona County sheriff's deputy tried to pull over the pickup on Highway 220, but the truck sped away when another deputy arrived. People inside the truck began firing at officers.

The chase ended when the pickup got stuck in a Bar Nunn field.

Reach Joshua Wolfson at (307) 266-0582 or at


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