Despite pleading guilty in May to breaking and entering into a Glendale Road home, a Marietta man claimed innocence Monday during his sentencing in Washington County Common Pleas Court.
"It was a big misunderstanding. I ain't guilty. I had permission to be there," said 21-year-old Damien Hines just prior to being sentenced to six months in prison.
Hines was seen by neighbors on Sept. 27, 2011 entering the upstairs window at 1314 Glendale Road and leaving with several items. Hines was caught later thanks to a vehicle description provided by neighbors and clothing and jewelry were recovered and returned to the home's owner.
He was initially indicted on third-degree and fourth-degree felony counts of burglary, but pleaded guilty May 24 to the fifth-degree felony charge of breaking and entering.
Both Hines and his attorney Jack Blakeslee asked that Hines be given credit for time served and have the rest of his sentence suspended.
"My uncle is about to die. I got to help my mom move by Friday," said Hines.
Blakeslee added that the crime was made less serious because there was no physical harm or property damage caused.
Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth noted that Hines had been under the influence of heroin at the time of the incident and that Hines had indicated he was not interested in completing the SEPTA Correctional Facility's rehabilitation program.
"I only denied SEPTA because since I been locked up I got a clear head," said Hines. "I've sobered up. I just didn't think it would help me."
Among other things, Burnworth pointed to Hines' lengthy criminal history as both a juvenile and adult when denying the request for a suspended sentence.
"None of what the court has done at any point in time has gotten your attention, helped you change your behavior," said Burnworth.
Because Hines previously received a prison sentence and because he violated the conditions of his bond by failing to show up for his trial, he was eligible for a prison sentence on the fifth-degree felony charge, said Burnworth. The maximum sentence possible was one year.
He sentenced Hines to six months in prison. However, because he would get credit for time served, Burnworth ordered the balance of the sentence to be served in the Washington County Jail.
There was some disagreement as to credit for time served. Court documents indicated that Hines had served 113 days for the crime, said Burnworth. Blakeslee contended that it was 140 days, so Burnworth asked Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham to look into the matter.
"We'll attempt to make sure he gets credit for all the time that should legally count toward this offense," said Burnworth.
Blakeslee also asked that the Marietta Police Department return property that was seized upon Hines' arrest, including a pair of Nike shoes, a cell phone, a debit card and an undetermined amount of cash.
Burnworth ordered that the cash would go toward court costs and that the rest of the items be returned to Hines upon his release.