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Sinclair pleads guilty to evidence tampering in Fort Myers

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Posted at 11:45 AM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 13:08:44-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A former candidate for Lee County Supervisor of Elections, Dan Sinclair, pleaded guilty in court Monday morning. He’s accused of hiding evidence in the 2016 death of a motorcyclist in a hit and run crash.

Family, friends, and spectators sat inside a Lee County courtroom, waiting for a verdict.

“It's over. He's going to jail," said Tracy Miller, the victim’s mother.

The charges are tied to the 2016 death of Adam King who was hit by Adam Costello while riding his motorcycle on June 19th, 2016. Costello was with Sinclair earlier in the day before the incident took place. Costello was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison last year after taking a plea deal.

Monday, almost three years after King was killed in a hit and run crash, it all boiled down to a few moments for Sinclair, facing a Lee County judge for Tampering with Evidence in a Deadly Hit and Run crash.

Judge: "As to count one, how do you plea?"
Sinclair: "Best interest."
Judge: "As to count one, you're either pleading guilty or not guilty."
Sinclair: “Guilty with best interest, your honor."
Judge: "Say it again?"
Sinclair: "Guilty with best interest."

Moments later, the judge wasn't convinced with Sinclair's plea.

Judge: "Are you pleading guilty because you are in face guilty?"
Sinclair: "It's best interest, your honor."
Judge: "I'm not doing this. You're either pleading guilty, or your pleading not guilty. I have a jury coming tomorrow. We'll go to trial. I'm not playing any games right now. You're playing games with me; keep giving me this best interest crap."

The judge proceeded by asking Sinclair why he was pleading guilty.

Sinclair: "I was asked for the DVR by Adam Costello and he said he was innocent and wanted to prove it and I gave it to him."
Judge: "And you tampered with it."
Sinclair: "No."
Judge: "We don't have a plea. See you tomorrow at trial."

After several moments waiting outside the courtroom, the judge called Sinclair back in for round two. He pleaded guilty for Tampering with Evidence, and pleaded No Contest for Resisting an Officer Without Violence.

Adam King's mother says she's happy with the outcome. "It's never going to be totally closed in my heart. But yes, this part is over. Tomorrow's gonna be a new day.”

Sinclair will be transferred to the Bay County Jail in Panama City, Florida, where he will spend 30 days in jail on weekends only, followed by 36 months of state probation for Count One, and an additional twelve months of probation for Count Two.