"I think his record speaks for itself and justice was served."
That's what the White Tail Way burglary victim said about convicted burglar Jason A. Maye. The 29-year-old Willard resident was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday -- one year short of the maximum.
"Your record screams that you should get a high-end sentence. ... You put yourself in that box," Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told Maye.
The defendant's extensive criminal record includes charges of receiving stolen property, vandalism, breaking and entering, theft, trafficking in heroin and probation violations. Conway said Maye hadn't done well under community control and noted his earlier time in prison wasn't particularly good.
"You just continue to do the same things," the judge added.
Conway said that while Maye took responsibility for the burglary, he couldn't find him remorseful because the crime essentially "interrupted" his shoplifting activities at the nearby Walmart. The judge told Maye the only way to keep him from re-offending was to send him to prison.
Maye, after hearing his sentence, told Conway he didn't take a plea offer in December to be convicted of a third-degree felony and possibly a three-year prison term because he was focusing on getting his life together. The defendant, who later pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony, also said his family planned on helping him pay his restitution and fines so he could get back into college.
The burglary happened Aug. 11 when Maye and another male suspect cut a window screen to enter the residence. They stole a laptop computer and a briefcase plus via an ATM, Maye also stole $480. The other suspect hasn't been arrested.
Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Jim Fulton obtained a confession from Maye a few days later during the investigation of Maye stealing a TV from Walmart, which is near the victims' home.
Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Maye and his accomplice didn't see any lights on in the victim's residence and made the mistake of thinking someone wasn't home.
"The main reason we're here is Mr. Maye was cooperative. He 'fessed up," Longo said.
The victims reported a burglar was in the home at 3:02 a.m. Police said the residents had left the window open to get some air and when the suspects fled the scene, they dropped the stolen laptop.
The victim told the court Wednesday he and his wife have been surprised at how much the burglary has affected them.
"This is a disturbing experience to go through. It's taken us some time," said the man, who believes if Maye continues on the same path, someone could get killed.
"We don't live as secure as were or as secure as we thought we were," he added.
Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler recommended Maye serve four to six months in a community-based corrections facility and have eight years in prison hanging over his head if he violates his probation. Leffler said he believes if Maye were able to get off drugs, he could improve himself. A CBCF is a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.
"We think drug rehab will help him. ... I'm not sure if he's escalated (his crimes), but he's been in this pattern for a long time," Leffler said.
The defendant was on parole at the time of the burglary. Maye recently served four years in prison for a similar crime.
"Drugs played a big factor in this (burglary)," Maye said Wednesday. "I was clean before I got arrested on this."
Maye's attorney attempted to withdraw the plea and argued the sentence was the maximum amount.
Conway said he completely disagreed. The judge said he was trying to balance Leffler's recommendation of Maye going to a CBCF with possibly considering early release into a similar rehab facility or a Teen Challenge, a year-long, drug-treatment program. Conway declined to impose the nearly 529 days of imprisonment hanging over Maye's head for the parole violation and ruled the Ohio Department of Corrections will have to make that decision about adding the additional time.
Maye, who must pay the male victim about $111 in restitution, can apply for early release after spending five years in prison. He will be on three years of parole.