Burglar to ex-father-in-law: 'I'm sorry for betraying you'

Victim upset that the man who stole and then torched his truck might be granted work-release as part of a jail term.
Cary Ashby
Jul 31, 2014

Convicted thief and burglar Elliot J.M. Shepherd II turned to his ex-father-in-law. He apologized for betraying his trust.

"I should have known better," the defendant said.

"I'm sorry for betraying you. ... My judgment was blurred by alcohol," Shepherd added.

Turning back to Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway, he said wants to get his life "on the right track."

"I'm not this person," said Shepherd, who said he hangs his head in shame when he's in New London.

As of March 28, when he was arraigned, the defendant was in his sixth week of sobriety. Defense attorney Ed Rhode has said his client has been seeing a mental health professional "who has been a tremendous help to him."

"He is trying to delve into how he got where he is and more importantly, where does he go from here," Rhode said Wednesday.

In mid-June, Shepherd, 28, of 2678 Jennings Road, pleaded guilty to grand theft of a motor vehicle and burglary. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed one count each of theft and arson.

The victim spoke passionately and emotionally in court Wednesday. He said Shepherd came to his home Dec. 28, stole his truck, left it in the middle of a field and set it on fire. That meant the victim later had to borrow a work vehicle and was without a truck on the weekends.

"I was left without the truck I use to make my living," he said.

The man said Shepherd showed no fear of going into his house, where he has a large gun collection, and could have been injured. The victim said such behavior makes the culprit dangerous.

"He could break into anybody's house," the man added.

The victim expressed frustration at Shepherd reportedly not telling the Huron County Sheriff's Office where the rest of the tools stolen from the truck are. The defendant later told Conway -- who was concerned about all the equipment not being returned -- that he doesn't know where those items are and he turned in what he had.

"To me, he's protecting another criminal," the victim said.

Shepherd was sentenced to 180 days in the Huron County Jail on the work-release program.

"That's the maximum time I can give you," Conway said.

Sixty of those days can be imposed at the discretion of his felony probation officer, who also has the option of asking Conway to waive the sentence if the defendant does well during his three years of basic probation.

The victim, before the court handed down Shepherd's sentence, protested the defendant being allowed to apply for work release.

"(The jail) may not be the Holiday Inn, but it's not my idea of jail. ... Just to sleep there isn't enough," the man said.

Conway told the victim that the work-release program is heavily monitored and includes drug screens before and after inmates go to their jobs and work-site supervision.

"It's a heavily regulated program," added the judge, noting some defendants don't get accepted.

Shepherd must pay $6,150 in restitution to a pair of victims and $955 to a male victim. He isn't allowed to have any association with the victims and can't be on their property or at the Marathon gas station in New London. The defendant also must continue undergoing psychological counseling and undergo substance abuse treatment.

If he violates his probation, he faces three years in prison.