Oregon standoff defendant pleads guilty in theft case

Scott Willingham pleaded guilty to stealing government property

Scott Willingham plead guilty to stealing government property. (MCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A man who joined the security team during the takeover of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon has pleaded guilty to stealing government property.

Scott Willingham was with occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum on Jan. 15 when Finicum took down surveillance cameras at a substation near Burns.

Willingham’s the first refuge defendant to enter a guilty plea, but he’s not one of the 26 people scheduled to go to trial later this year in the larger conspiracy case stemming from the 41-day takeover.

Under a plea agreement, Willingham’s expected to face six months in prison. He’s agreed to undergo a mental health evaluation and spend up to several months at a residential re-entry program.

The Oregonian/Oregonlive reports that Willingham said “absolutely, without question” when a federal judge asked Thursday if entering the guilty plea was the right decision.

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