As of Friday, September 7, 2018
DALLAS — Polk County Circuit Judge Monte Campbell placed Heather Mounce into custody at the Polk County Jail on $200,000 bail on Tuesday morning.
Mounce, the former Dallas woman accused of multiple counts of identity theft and criminal mistreatment, pleaded not guilty to the 98 felony charges against her. Her attorney Jeff Jones, of Salem, resigned following Tuesday’s court date.
“The issue is that we know that Ms. Mounce qualifies for court-appointed attorney, and I will deal with the issue of release and then have the court appoint her an attorney,” Jones said.
Prosecutor Sarah Lundstedt and Mounce’s alleged victims argued that she is a flight risk and danger to the community if left to her own recognizance.
Lundstedt reference Mounce’s disappearance in what she said Mounce represented as a suicide attempt in August 2017. She was rescued after four days by the U.S. Coast Guard, who used a helicopter to pluck her off a cliff near Florence.
“When this kind of unraveled for her, she left and made concerning statements and ultimately cost the taxpayers of Oregon a lot of money to locate her,” Lundstedt said. “When the pressure is on, she is going to flee.”
One of Mounce’s alleged victims, OpenRoad Transportation owners Liz and Mark Weisensee, had Lundstedt re-read a statement they provided for Mounce’s original court appearance on Aug. 14.
“We stand by that statement,” Mark Weisensee said on Tuesday.
Jones said that she has no criminal history or previous arrests and had been making progress with a mental health counselor Chelsea Scott, who provided a statement to the court. He said that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depressive disorder from abuse in her first marriage.
“We are not here about punishment; we are here about release criteria,” Jones said. “She just meets that.”
After receiving a copy of the letter from Scott Lundstedt asked Mark Weisensee a question: “Did this person make comments to you when we were in court the last time at Ms. Mounce’s arraignment?”
Weisensee said in court that Scott was present at Mounce’s Aug. 14 hearing and called him and other alleged victims “a bunch of losers,” and asked that Scott not be considered credible.
“This person (Mounce) is dangerous to everybody, and I will stand by that,” Weisensee said.
Campbell said he wasn’t persuaded by the arguments against her showing up.
“Ms. Mounce, when I look at release criteria, I look at No. 1, are you going to come back, you’ve established that you will do that,” Campbell said. “Two I look at is the public safe, and three are you going to commit more crimes. It’s the last two I have a problem with.”
He revoked the release agreement she signed on Aug. 14. Campbell assigned Vidrio, Park and Jarvis to represent her.
Mounce will be in court next on Sept. 25 for a pretrial conference at 10:30 a.m. The case is scheduled for a trial on Oct. 24 at 9:30 a.m.