Burglar says he's 'done with alcohol'

Cary Ashby • Jan 12, 2014 at 6:07 AM

Convicted burglar Jorden A. Santiago admitted he blacked out when he committed the crime. However, he said he's "done with alcohol" and is committed to being sober.

"I fully take the full blame for what I did," said Santiago, 22, of 165 Concord Court. "Alcohol is what made me do it."

His blood-alcohol content level tested at .209 percent "at the jail a couple hours after he was arrested," his attorney said earlier. The legal limit for drivers in Ohio is .08 percent. It's unknown what Santiago's BAC results were when he was tested at the Norwalk police station.

"This is a new moment. I have to take the first step," Santiago said at Tuesday's sentencing hearing.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said he believes his client is sincere about tackling his substance abuse problem.

"Mr. Santiago has been doing everything he can to address the problem," Longo said. "He's got (an AA) sponsor. He's got a couple job possibilities.

"I think he wants to get this monkey off his back," Longo added.

Citing Santiago's "extensive juvenile criminal history" and his "serious substance abuse problem," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said the state wouldn't be opposed to the defendant going to a community-based corrections facility as part of probation. Defendants spend four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

In November, Santiago pleaded guilty to an amended charge of burglary. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop the charge from a second-degree felony to a third-degree one.

Santiago's conviction is for an Aug. 29 incident on Summit Street, where the resident reported the theft of an electric carving knife. Police said the woman woke up about 7 a.m. to find Santiago standing at the threshold of her bedroom door.

"She said she could smell cigarette smoke and that must have been what woke her," Capt. Mike Conney said earlier. "He said he was looking for an 'Ashley' and he was just in the wrong apartment."

After Santiago left, the victim called 9-1-1. Police arrested him soon afterward.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway, before announcing his sentence Tuesday, said the burglary created significant psychological harm to the victim. He also said "the unusual circumstances" were bizarre since Santiago was holding the electric knife and showed he wasn't in the right state of mind.

On the other hand, Conway credited Santiago with regularly attending AA meetings in jail and working toward getting a job and his GED. He also had been regularly attending church services.

"I think all those things are in your favor," the judge added.

Santiago was sentenced to 180 days of discretionary time in the Huron County Jail and given credit for already serving 134. As part of his three years of his intensive probation, he must seek and earn his GED as well as undergo substance abuse treatment. The defendant also is subject to random drug screens.

"I'm going to hold some (jail) time over your head," Conway said, referring to the remaining 46 days which Santiago's probation officer can impose at any time.

The judge also told Santiago he was giving him a chance to prove he could be sober -- even though his criminal history proves otherwise.

If the defendant violates the terms of his probation, Santiago could be sentenced to a CBCF or three years in prison.

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