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Accused Molester Trial Date Set

A proposed plea bargain for Neil Alden Leash II, 47, charged with 95 counts of child molestation, is still not finalized so the court has set new trial dates in the case.

Defense attorney Leroy Falk and Deputy District Attorney Dan McConnell were optimistic an agreement could be reached eventually. However, a trial date of March 11 was set by Calaveras County Superior Court Judge John Martin in case the agreement fell through. As proposed, Leash would plead guilty to three counts and receive 25 years to life in prison.

The former prison guard is scheduled to enter a plea on child pornography charges in federal court Nov. 24. Both the prosecuting and defense attorneys in that case were out of the office and could not be reached for comment about that agreement.

A Nov. 21 appearance in Calaveras County also was set to address the transfer of Leash from the county to federal authorities. He would be released on his own recognizance, and then immediately taken into custody by FBI and other authorities and transported to a federal facility. McConnell emphasized that all this was subject to court approval.

If the federal sentence proves shorter than his state sentence, Leash woul be transferred back to a state facility at the conclusion of his federal time to serve out the remainder of his sentence, Falk said.

Leash was arrested Sept. 17, 2002, at his San Andreas apartment and eventually charged with 95 counts of child molestation involving three girls.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Craig Koscho. For more Calaveras news, click: calaverasenterprise.com