By Angela Shepherd firstname.lastname@example.org
April 17, 2014
After the judge denied a motion to withdraw a guilty plea to burglary, a Hillsboro man was sentenced to three years in prison for his first felony conviction.
James D. Landrum, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree felony burglary last month, but tried to withdraw that plea on Thursday based on his co-defendants each having the opportunity to take a polygraph.
But Prosecutor Anneka Collins said the attorneys for the co-defendants asked for the polygraphs, but Landrum’s attorney, Conrad Curren did not, and that if he had, Landrum would have been given the opportunity.
But Curren said he was only made aware of the co-defendants’ polygraphs on Thursday, which led him to file for a motion to withdraw the guilty plea entered by his client.
But Judge Rocky Coss asked how a polygraph would help Landrum since, according to the presentence report, Landrum was “the most culpable” of those involved.
Curren said a polygraph could help prove that Landrum’s intention was not to commit a crime, but to help someone move. But the judge disagreed.
Coss said the victim caught Landrum “red handed,” and identified him. He said the victim chased Landrum down and knocked him to the ground to retrieve his property. Coss also noted that, according to the report, Landrum didn’t “drop stuff and walk away” when the victim found him in his home, but ran trying to get away with the victim’s property.
Ultimately, Coss denied the motion to withdraw the guilty plea entered last month.
Landrum told the court that he “had a very bad drug problem” at the time, but has since sought help and is attending FRS. He said he made a mistake and was “very sorry.”
While the judge agreed that it was good that Landrum had taken steps for treatment, he said the bottom line was that “you knew this guy,” adding there was “no question” that Landrum knew to whom the home belonged.
“I take home invasion very seriously,” Coss said.
The judge followed the three-year sentence recommended by the state, and Landrum was taken into custody.
Also sentenced to prison was Michael D. Jarnigan, 32, for two counts of fifth-degree felony forgery.
Jarnigan initially pleaded guilty to the charges in October, but when he failed to appear for his November sentencing hearing a warrant was issued, and he was arrested earlier this month.
Jarnigan was sentenced to two consecutive 11-month prison terms.
He was also arraigned on another case charging third-degree felony failure to register a change of address as a registered sex offender.
John Tommy Allen, 39, of Hillsboro, was sentenced to two 10-month consecutive sentences for receiving stolen property and theft.
Collins recommended the combined 20 months and said the state would not oppose judicial release to the STAR program after six months of incarceration.
Defense attorney Allyce Horne requested that Allen be admitted directly to the treatment program instead of a prison term, saying that Allen has been attending FRS and making regular restitution payments on a 2011 case.
But the judge noted the 2011 case was of similar charges and it was likely that the “driving force” behind the crimes was not substance abuse, but that Allen was a thief.
Along with the prison term, Allen was ordered to pay more than $5,000 in restitution.
Additionally, the new charges also meant that Allen violated his probation from the 2011 case. For that, Coss extended the community control, but that will not take effect until Allen is released from prison.
Robert Coburn Jr., 34, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree felony aggravated possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 17 months in prison.
A request was made by the defense for a furlough for Coburn to visit with his ailing grandfather and to get his affairs in order.
“I’ve been down at county for awhile now,” Coburn said, adding that he was now thinking “real clear” about some things. He said this time was different because he recognized his own responsibility.
But Coss denied the request, saying there was “too much temptation” outside the jail walls.
The judge also noted Coburn’s prior felonies and prison stints as well as the fact that his name has come up in some recent cases.
In other proceedings, Ryan S. Skaggs, 39, of Hillsboro, admitted to probation violations and was ordered to undergo a STAR assessment. A hearing on the matter was set for next week.
Robert D. Throckmorton, 24, of Leesburg, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree felony possession of cocaine. He was granted intervention in lieu of conviction and was ordered to be assessed for the intensive treatment available at FRS.
Aaron M. Blagg, 32, of Lynchburg, was sentenced to three years community control and the STAR program for third-degree felony illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.
Brittany N. Wells, 24, of Hillsboro, was admitted into the prosecutor’s diversion program. She pleaded guilty to forgery and theft by deception, both fifth-degree felonies.
Finally, Brittany J. Sherbert, 28, of Greenfield, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree felony theft. She will be sentenced in June following the completion of a presentence investigation.
Angela Shepherd can be reached at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @ashepherdHTG.