By Margie Wuebker
One of two men implicated in a string of breaking and enterings at area churches and schools has been sentenced to community control sanctions with the promise of prison if he fails to comply.
Jerry R. Brown, 20, of Greenville, appeared Friday afternoon in Mercer County Common Pleas Court and listened intently to the terms handed down by Judge Jeffrey Ingraham — 60 days in jail upon notice of the adult probation department and up to five years supervision.
If the defendant fails to comply, Ingraham listed the consequences as eight months in prison on each of six breaking and entering codeges, with the time to be served consecutively.
He pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to the fifth-degree felonies. The state earlier dropped two theft codeges, both fourth-degree felonies, as part of plea negotiations.
Paul Brown Jr., 29, also of Greenville, had been scheduled for sentencing on similar codeges Friday morning. However, the matter was continued until 3 p.m. Tuesday after the judge reportedly failed to receive a presentence investigation report.
The codeges stem from incidents occurring between Oct. 3 and 10 at Coldwater Exempted Village Schools, Coldwater United Methodist Church, Marion Local Elementary/Junior High School in Maria Stein, and Coldwater Intermediate School, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church, all of Montezuma.
The perpetrators, who reportedly are cousins, ransacked each location and left considerable damage in their wake. Drawers were pulled out and cabinet door were ripped from hinges. Papers. books and other items apparently were left as they fell. The men also pounded or pried on a tabernacle door at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and then strewed communion hosts stored inside over the floor.
Court records peg restitution for the damage incurred at more than $13,000.
“I can’t take back what I done,” Jerry Brown told Ingraham prior to sentencing. “I will try my best to give back what I stole from those people.”
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox mentioned “pages and pages” of victim impact statements sent to the court.
The judge took various factors into consideration prior to sentencing, calling the young man “an assistor and driver” during the commission of the crimes.
Jerry Brown, who has been granted judicial release in a case involving similar crimes in Darke County, reported he is to begin a new job Monday. The judge commented that gainful employment would allow the defendant to begin paying off the “tragic damage” done to public institutions.