Two men who pleaded guilty to a string of burglaries at Petersburg businesses last August will be spending the better part of two and a half years in jail. The 20- and 26-year old men were sentenced for those crimes at the Petersburg court house Monday.
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26-year-old Joshua Franklin and 20-year-old Brandon Estes both pleaded guilty to burglary and theft charges following break-ins last summer at several Petersburg businesses, and they agreed to the guilty pleas in return for a cap on their jail time of four years.
Estes was charged with a break in at Waterways Veterinary Clinic that happened earlier in August. Both men faced burglary and theft charges after break-ins were reported to police late that month at the swimming pool, Alaska Power and Telephone, Petersburg Motors, Hammer and Wikan grocery store and Wikan Enterprises. Stolen items ranged from credit cards to video games, to a pry tool, to veterinary medicine.
At sentencing hearings Monday, assistant district attorney Nick Polasky asked for nearly similar jail sentences of almost three years.
“I think Mr. Estes and Mr. Franklin have caused a lot of problems in the community for a little while by this type of behavior,” Polasky said. “I think if the court imposed this sentence it would serve individual deterrence because Mr. Estes and Mr. Franklin would be looking at a sizable chunk of time and realizing if we keep doing this type of stuff we’re gonna be going back to lots of jail time as opposed to a week here two months here, stuff like that. I think it would also serve general deterrence because in a smaller community like Petersburg I think word really gets around here’s what happens if you break into people’s businesses.”
Meanwhile, public defender Dennis McCarty said Estes made bad decisions and agreed he needed to make changes. However, he wanted a lesser sentence for his client. “We have a young man who’s gonna be 21 in about 4-5 months, very young. He’s been dealt a really bad hand. Doesn’t excuse it. He’s made bad decisions in his life. He’s gotta figure out how to get his head squared away or he’s going to be what I call a frequent flyer within the system.”
McCarty characterized the crimes as one night of craziness and along with an earlier break in at the Waterways Veterinary Clinic. Estes did not speak at sentencing hearing.
Superior court Judge William Carey sentenced Estes first but not before asking for more of an explanation for the crimes. “I’d love to hear an explanation from somebody as to what would cause these two young men to engage in this rampage over the course of an evening in which, multiple, a fairly large number of people in the community were impacted by the conduct of these two young men,” Carey said.
Carey sentenced Estes to total jail time of 30 months and 10 days to serve for the burglaries and several other charges against him. Another 46 months is suspended unless he violates probation conditions. He’ll also have to repay the items he stole.
The second defendant, Franklin, did speak during his sentencing and gave the judge more of an explanation. He apologized to the community and told the judge that a heroin addiction was a factor. “Chasing drugs is not really what you wanna really do every single day for the rest of your life,” Franklin said. “I weighed 163 pounds when I was booked in. I weigh 214 pounds right now. That’s insane. Another thing is what I was doing, when you think about it, it was irrational. It was all irrational and indecisive. Who knows which direction it was going. I don’t. I didn’t see any of this happening. I didn’t see nothing coming at me.”
Franklin said he’s taken multiple classes while he’s been in jail and said he would repay the businesses for the damaged and missing property. Franklin also had a couple of charges not related to the burglaries and some of those were included in his sentencing.
Carey thanked Franklin for that explanation and sentenced him a total of 30 months to serve in jail. He’ll have another 28 months jail time suspended on top of that. Both men could serve less of those jail sentences with time off for good behavior.