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Man enters plea in theft from family relief fund

SoVaNow.com / August 20, 2014


A Clarksville man accused of stealing from a benefit fund created for the late Heather Anne Tucker entered an Alford plea of guilty to one count of felony grand larceny in Mecklenburg County Circuit Court last week.

Sebert Ray Kyle Jr. of Clarksville agreed to the Alford plea, which is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgement by the defendant that sufficient evidence exists to obtain a conviction. In exchange for the plea, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Joshua Hatchell dropped two additional grand larceny charges against Kyle.

The Alford plea carries the same consequences as a plea of guilty. Felony grand larceny is punishable by a prison term of up to a maximum of 20 years.

Kyle was indicted on Jan. 21 and charged with three counts of felony grand larceny for allegedly converting funds to his own use that had been entrusted to him for the Heather-Anne Tucker Benefit Fund, established on behalf of the late Bluestone student who died July 10 of brain cancer. According to Hatchell, the larceny charge encompassed an episode during the 2013 Virginia Lake Festival when Kyle allegedly accepted donations on behalf of Tucker, then failed to put the donations into the fund. A second conversion took place in August 2013, when Kyle allegedly used proceeds for the benefit fund to purchase a smartphone for himself.

During the 15-year-old girl’s year-long battle with brain cancer, friends and supporters from around the county rallied around the Tucker family, hosting numerous fundraisers locally and online, and establishing a benefit fund to help defray her medical expenses.

The court ordered a presentence report before setting Kyle’s punishment. A sentencing hearing is set Oct. 28 at 1 p.m.

This is Kyle’s second brush with the law this year. In May, he entered an Alford plea in an unrelated case in which he was charged with two counts of obtaining money under false pretenses. At that time, Kyle was sentenced to ten years in prison with all time suspended, with one year of supervised probation, and an order to pay $831 in court costs.

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