Judge rejects plea deal in NJ child luring case
TOMS RIVER, N.J.: A New Jersey judge on Friday rejected a plea bargain that prosecutors reached with a man accused of trying to lure three young children into a specially rigged van filled with candy.
Under the deal, Brian Warner pleaded guilty in June to possessing a stun gun. In return, charges of child-luring and possession of bomb-making materials were to have been dismissed, and he would have been sentenced only to the time he already served.
Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels did not publicly disclose his reasons for rejecting the deal. He set another hearing for Nov. 3.
It was not clear whether Warner, 49, would seek to rescind the guilty plea in the wake of Friday's ruling.
Warner stood trial on the charges in 2005, but the jury was deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. He has been free in bail since April 2005, having spent nearly a year in jail while awaiting trial.
Defense attorney Paul Casteleiro called Daniels' ruling "the wrong decision. They (prosecutors) came to us and wanted to do a plea, and we entered into because it made sense to put this behind him."
Michael Mohel, a spokesman for the Ocean County prosecutor's office, did not return a call.
Prosecutors said that in 2004, Warner tried to lure two sisters ages 9 and 10 and their 7-year-old brother into a van equipped with a candy-filled cooler — and also a police scanner, a cage, black louvers on the windows, sound-muffling padding and sensors to alert occupants if someone was approaching.
Prosecutors claimed Warner had rigged the van to snatch children for sexual assault. But his lawyer argued that Warner had the candy because he has low blood sugar and that he was only trying to be friendly to the children.
Now, maybe it's just me, but a candy filled cooler sounds like a spiffy idea. Hell, I don't even have low blood sugar and I think that might make for a nice car accessory. I'm not sure about the cage but you never know when you might run across a mountain lion or something. I'll admit, it might be harder to explain why the guy left a trail of candy that led to the van with signs saying 'Free Balloon Animals Inside', but I'm sure his lawyer can come up with something.
On a sidenote, is that an absolutely perfect userpic for this article or what?