Alexander Reitzel can finally breath a sigh of relief.
The 19-year-old signed an Alford plea Wednesday for his role in the alleged attempted burglary of a home belonging to State Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island.
The deal ensures he will not serve any prison time, and he will remain void of any criminal record following the ordeal. He is charged with attempted burglary, though the charges will likely be dismissed after one year of diversion.
The agreement comes about seven months after the alleged incident in which Reitzel was seen on Redfern's property, which was for sale at the time.
Since then, Tom DeBacco, Reitzel's attorney, has lambasted Redfern and Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan for filing the charges.
He labeled them charges "politically motivated" back in December, saying Reitzel was indicted far too quickly — just four days after the alleged incident.
Mulligan and Redfern have maintained Reitzel was trying to break into the $840,000 Catawba home.
DeBacco said he encouraged Reitzel to accept the deal, a rarity for DeBacco who recently said how much he enjoys jury trials.
"We could only lose in a jury trial," DeBacco said. "I rarely recommend that. I couldn't guarantee what would happen."
DeBacco thought the Alford plea was wise for Reitzel to agree to, since an Alford plea does not require the alleged offender to admit his or her guilt.
"Alex is innocent," DeBacco said. "But I can't roll the dice on his behalf."
The deal came a bit as a surprise to the defense, since Mulligan's most recent plea offer to Reitzel mandated Reitzel write an apology letter to Redfern.
DeBacco said at the time, about a month ago, he had never seen a plea offer like it.
Reitzel suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to DeBacco, which was a key component in why Reitzel was on the property for about 45 minutes.
"When you touch a doorknob once you touch it 100 times," he said recently.
Reitzel had become obsessed with the home, DeBacco said.
Furthermore, Reitzel's father is a well-to-do businessman with the means to buy the home, DeBacco said.
"All he wanted was his parents to buy this home," DeBacco said.
A public records request was recently submitted to Mulligan, asking to view the case files of the county's last 10 attempted burglary indictments, intended to compare Reitzel's grand jury indictment to other attempted burglary indictments.
Mulligan said the software his office uses does not have the capability to look up case files based on the alleged offender's charge.
Redfern contacted the Register after this story was posted at the news site, angrily stating the reporter should have called him before it was published.
"I am pleased that Mr. Reitzel will go through the process of diversion to ensure he does not commit another crime," Redfern said late Wednesday. "I only wish Tom DeBacco would understand the seriousness of this case. He has been rude and abusive to me and my family from the start and he should be ashamed of himself. Reitzel has to plead guilty to a felony of attempted burglary. It is clear what he was trying to do."
This article was modified after it was posted to add comments from Redfern.