CAMP VERDE – Seth Lawrence Collins’ three cases will be reassigned to Judge Jeffrey Paupore in Division Pro Tem A in Prescott, according to Shelly Bacon, deputy court administrator at Yavapai Superior Court.
The cases spent three years in Division 7 in Camp Verde under Judge Michael R. Bluff.
Collins was arrested in 2015 on dangerous drug possession/use and drug paraphernalia charges in Camp Verde. He was indicted while in custody in the second case for 23 counts relating to an accident on the SR 260 and later, indicted on other drug charges in a third case.
The accident, which occurred on the SR 260, was a collision between Collin’s truck and a van carrying eight people – three adults and five children. Several of the injured were airlifted by five helicopters to medical centers in Phoenix and Flagstaff. Collins was indicted on 23 counts in the accident case due to the amount of victims involved.
During the cases’ three years in Division 7, Collins rejected an initial plea deal that offered a sentencing range of 15- to 20-years and was set for trial. The State later offered a second plea deal before the trial, with a stipulation of 21- to 25- years, which Collins accepted. Later, after requesting the court for a new lawyer, an evidentiary hearing was held in debate of whether a manifest injustice occurred. The court decided it had not.
Collins was scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 13. Instead, Bluff rejected the plea deal, citing the 21- to 25-year sentencing stipulation was inappropriate.
“Before I leave the case I would like to say this; I feel a responsibility in the case going on for so long. There were a lot of legal maneuverings,” said Bluff. “I feel bad for the victims and I feel bad for Mr. Collins. It was the first time I got to look [at the stipulation] and I decided it was not appropriate.”
A date has not yet been set for the case in Judge Paupore’s court.