The verdict is in for Stephanie Hubers in the GEAR UP trial: not guilty. The former assistant business manager at Mid Central Education Co-Op in Platte had faced charges of grand theft and receiving stolen money. She had been accused of helping Scott and Nicole Westerhuis steal millions of dollars in grant money from the GEAR UP education program. Hubers was also accused of taking more than $50,000 in what prosecutors claimed was hush money.
An investigation began after Mid-Central business manager Scott Westerhuis killed his wife and children in a 2015 murder-suicide. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley prosecuted for the state. Clint Sargent was Hubers’ attorney.
KELOLAND did hear briefly from Jackley when the jury got the case at noon.
“The evidence came in, and everybody worked hard,” Jackley said.
When KELOLAND News tried to interview him after the verdict was read, he had already left the courthouse. But the defense was ready to talk.
“The evidence I thought was overwhelming in favor of not guilty,” Sargent said. “The, what the state was saying, that Stephanie knew about what the Westerhuis’ was doing, they just didn’t have the evidence of it. And like I said in my closing argument, Scott Westerhuis didn’t have accomplices- he only had victims.”
So what’s next for Hubers?
“Try and get back to some normalcy in her life. We’ll see what that is,” Sargent said.
Sargent also shared thoughts on behalf of Hubers.
“Stephanie Hubers had asked me to tell everyone that her biggest disappointment in this whole thing has been the way that the GEAR UP program has now become synonymous with a scandal,” Sargent said. “And it was a wonderful program. It helped so many people, and that’s the thing that she hates most about all of this is that now GEAR UP is connected to a scandal.”