JEFFERSON — Discussions of Joshua Gurto’s plea deal will not be public at a hearing on Thursday morning, according to court records.
Earlier this month, a plea deal was presented to Judge Marianne Sezon that would resolve Gurto’s two ongoing criminal cases.
In the first case, filed in 2017, Gurto was charged with two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of murder, unclassified felonies, one count of rape, a first degree felony, one count of felonious assault, a second degree felony and one of domestic violence, a first degree misdemeanor. Gurto was accused of killing Sereniti Jazzlyn-Sky Sutley, a 13 month old child.
In another case, filed in 2020, Gurto was charged with one count of rape and two counts of aggravated burglary, first degree felonies and one count of felonious assault, a second degree felony.
On Oct. 1, a status conference took place, and proposed plea deals and stipulated sentences were submitted to the court, according to court records. After the hearing, an order was filed requiring the Prosecutor’s Office to file a brief explaining why the court should accept the deals, which include “a significant reduction” in the charges filed against Gurto in the murder case.
In a judgement entry dated Oct. 7, the court ordered the brief filed by the prosecution will be filed under seal, and the sections of Thursday’s hearing relating to plea negotiations will not be open to the public, “to protect the rights of all the parties in these cases, including but not limited to, victims’ rights and the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”
The hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday, according to court records.
County Prosecutor Colleen O’Toole previously said her office’s goal is to ethically prosecute what can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
A trial is scheduled in this case for Oct. 29. Gurto is being held on $1 million bond.