Judge rejects plea agreement for Bessigano

2009-04-28T00:00:00Z Judge rejects plea agreement for BessiganoDan Hinkel
dan.hinkel@nwi.com, (219) 852-4317
April 28, 2009 12:00 am  • 

HAMMOND | A federal judge rejected a plea agreement for repeat bestiality offender Michael Bessigano in Hammond federal court Tuesday, saying Bessigano's case doesn't justify a sentence below federal guidelines.

Judge Philip Simon said the confidential report from probation agents recommended a sentencing range between 33 and 41 months in prison for the Hobart man's conviction of downloading bestiality pornography.

Discussion in court indicated that, under the plea agreement between defense lawyer John E. Martin and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bernie Van Wormer, Bessigano could be sentenced to as little as two years in prison.

Simon called the agreement "not appropriate," and said that if Bessigano persisted in his guilty plea without the agreement, he would be exposed to a tougher sentence.

Simon gave Van Wormer and Martin two weeks to work out another plea agreement. Simon said he would schedule a joint plea hearing and sentencing.

Neither Van Wormer nor Martin commented outside court Tuesday.

Before he faced federal bestiality charges, Bessigano spent more than four years in prison on an animal cruelty conviction for having sex with a chicken, then killing the animal in a Valparaiso motel room.

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