Trooper accused of theft at crash rejects plea

Bridgeport (AP) — A state trooper accused of stealing money from a dying man after a motorcycle crash has rejected a plea bargain and will go on trial.

Aaron "AJ" Huntsman, 43, on Tuesday turned down the deal that would have required him to serve one year in prison, the Connecticut Post reported. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Huntsman, a 19-year veteran of the state police, is charged with larceny, interfering with police and tampering with evidence. He's accused of stealing $3,700 from 49-year-old John Scalesse on Sept. 22, 2012. Scalesse was killed after his motorcycle crashed on the Merritt Parkway in Fairfield.

"I was hoping it would be all over today, but he is still refusing to take responsibility for his actions," said Scalesse's mother, Marguerite Scalesse. "Now he wants to go on trial, but I'm confident justice will be done."

Neither Huntsman nor his lawyer commented as they left the courthouse.

State police said Huntsman has insisted he's innocent, even after he was shown a video showing that he took the money. The image was captured by the dashboard camera of his police car.

Huntsman, who was the first trooper at the crash scene, picked up Scalesse's gold chain from a pool of blood, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. Huntsman also is alleged to have told Scalesse's father he didn't see any money on Scalesse.

State police later found the cash held with a rubber band under the front seat of Huntsman's cruiser.

Following his arrest, Huntsman spent two weeks in a drug rehabilitation center for a claimed addiction to pain medication, court records show.

He agreed to have the victim's chain and money photographed so it could be returned to Scalesse's family.

His case was continued to Dec. 17.

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