Guilty plea planned in 10th OWI

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Andrea Anderson | February 3, 2016

ELKHORN—A former manager of a sober living facility intends to plead guilty to felony charges stemming from his choice to drink and drive.

Defense attorney Frank Lettenberger said in court Tuesday that John M. McBean will plead guilty to felony bail jumping and a felony drunken-driving offense at a March plea hearing.

McBean, who lives in the town of Geneva, originally was charged with 10th offense drunken-driving. That charge was later amended to an eighth offense, Lettenberger said.

Discrepancies in information on the number of prior offenses prompted Lettenberger to ask that he and prosecutor Diane Donohoo either work out the number of prior offenses or let a judge determine the number of offenses before the plea hearing.

Regardless of the prior offenses, McBean plans to plead guilty to each felony charge.

“We are not contesting the underlying allegation. … We are contesting the number of prior offenses,” Lettenberger said.

There is no a plea agreement at this time, Lettenberger said.

McBean appeared in court in custody. Lettenberger did not know when McBean's employment status changed or what the circumstances of that were.

He was first arrested July 25 after leaving the New Life Lodge, where he was a manager. Town of Geneva police arrested him after a domestic abuse complaint earlier that day at the lodge, N3155 County H, town of Geneva, a criminal complaint states.

Two men at the transitional living facility claim McBean threatened them after McBean was told he couldn't borrow a facility vehicle because people saw he was intoxicated, authorities have said.

McBean's bond was set at $10,000 cash for the first of the two offenses, and a family member posted the money in mid-August. Lake Geneva police arrested McBean again Sept. 28 after he allegedly drank a pint of whiskey despite bond conditions prohibiting alcohol consumption, according to a criminal complaint.

He is being held on a $10,000 cash bond and will appear in court next at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 1, at the Walworth County Judicial Center.

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