The ranch handyman accused of plotting to take the star's son reaches a plea bargain

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 12, 2005 08:00 AM

In a plea deal reached Monday between Montana prosecutors and the handyman charged with plotting to kidnap David Letterman’s then-16-month-old son and his nanny from the TV star’s ranch, Kelly Frank will spend 10 years behind bars.

Prosecutors in state District Court allowed Frank, 43, to plead guilty to lesser charges, in exchange for which they dropped a kidnapping-related charge, the Associated Press reports.

Frank pleaded guilty to felony theft, misdemeanor obstruction and possessing illegally killed wildlife, a felony. In exchange, Teton County Attorney Joe Coble dropped a felony charge of solicitation, which accused Frank of plotting to kidnap young Harry Joseph Letterman and his nanny and to hold them for $5 million ransom.

The deal demands a 10-year sentence on the theft charge and lesser terms on the other pleas, whose sentences will be served concurrent with the decade-long stretch.

Coble said he agreed to dismiss the solicitation charge because he believed the plea agreement accomplished what he wanted. “Kelly Frank needed to go to prison. This gets that done,” he said after Monday’s court hearing.

Frank’s attorney, Jim Hunt, said that his client – who had worked at the Letterman ranch in north-central Montana – agreed to the plea deal because he understood “that there was a risk in going to trial.”