News Column

Plea Deals Expected in Case Against Former Owners of Birdwell Auto

May 10, 2014

The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash.

May 10--The criminal cases against the former owners of a Centralia used car dealership accused of widespread theft from a local bank may both end in plea agreements.

The trial for Keith Birdwell, who is charged with one count of first-degree theft in addition to five felony counts of unlawful issuances of a bank check, was set to start next week.

A change of plea hearing, however, is currently scheduled for Monday at 9 a.m., said Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

Keith Birdwell and his wife, Lorinne, former owners of Birdwell Auto Sales in Centralia, are accused of selling dozens of used cars without paying back the bank loans used to purchase them. Court documents also allege that Keith Birdwell wrote bad checks to Security State Bank totaling more than $160,000.

Lorinne's trial is still set for later this year, but Eisenberg said he has been negotiating with her attorney to resolve her case prior to trial as well.

Lorinne was originally charged as a co-defendant to her husband, but a judge granted a request to separate their cases. A judge also later dismissed the five counts of unlawful issuance of a bank check as there was no evidence that she was involved in the specific act of writing the checks.


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Source: Chronicle, The (Centralia, WA)

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