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Fri, March 22

Ex-professor accused of stalking fire crews takes plea deal

Melissa Ann Santana

Melissa Ann Santana

FLAGSTAFF (AP) – A former Northern Arizona University professor could serve no more than 13 months in custody for allegedly stalking members of hotshot fire crews.

Melissa Ann Santana faces 10 felony charges of stalking and making false statements against at least 11 people, including members of the Flagstaff and Globe hotshot crews, according to court records.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have agreed to a deal in which Santana would plead guilty to one count of false statements and two counts of stalking. Seven other felony counts of similar charges would be dismissed, The Arizona Republic reported .

If a federal judge accepts the plea agreement in September, Santana, who has been in custody since Oct. 30, would be sentenced to time served, up to $150,000 restitution to the victims and as much as eight years of probation.

Santana, a former associate professor of interior design at NAU, allegedly sent threatening messages to three hotshot crew members, a student and others, according to a federal complaint.

The victims reported being harassed by someone using various false identities, email addresses, social media accounts and temporary phone numbers.


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