ELKINS - A Randolph County man pleaded guilty to a felony charge of nighttime burglary entering without breaking and two misdemeanor charges of petit larceny Wednesday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
Christopher Ryan Smith, 21, of Montrose, was sentenced by Judge Thomas Keadle to one year in jail for each of the petit larceny charges, to run consecutively. That sentence was suspended for five years of supervised probation. The felony charge was not accepted by the court and will be dismissed if Smith completes adult drug court, according to the plea agreement.
As stipulations of the agreement, Smith must complete adult drug court and may not have any contact with the victims. He is also required to pay restitution to the victims at a rate of $100 per month, and pay court costs.
If Smith fails to comply with any of the stipulations of the plea agreement, he will be charged with the felony burglary charge, which carries a penalty of 1 to 15 years in a state penitentiary.
Smith said he committed the crimes because he was under the influence of drugs, but said his goal now is to turn his life around.
"I just want to say if I did get out tomorrow, or today, I would check in with them (adult drug court) tomorrow. We are going to fill out the paper work and get started in drug court as soon as we can within the next week," Smith said. "I'm not gonna fail myself or fail anybody, I'm gonna complete it and move on with my life and not do drugs anymore."
Keadle asked Ty Nestor, the attorney representing Smith, if he thought the agreement was a good idea for Smith. Nestor answered he believed it was because it gives Smith a chance to prove he wants to turn his life around and gives him an opportunity to avoid a felony conviction on his record.
"I believe he is receiving a benefit from this particular agreement in that he is avoiding the risk of being a convicted felon. This is on him, but by virtue of the plea agreement he will only be a convicted misdemeanor offender today, as the state has agreed to dismiss the felony pursuant to a diversionary agreement," Nestor said.
Smith's felony burglary charge stems from a Dec. 24 incident in which a woman reported that a young man, later identified as Smith, had entered her residence as she and her family were returning home from church.
She said the door had been unlocked because the family was expecting company for a Christmas Eve party.
According to the criminal complaint, the woman said the individual walked inside the home and went upstairs. The woman's daughter said she saw him enter the residence but, the complaint says, "she didn't really notice him because they were expecting company."
After hearing noises coming from upstairs and noticing lights on, they discovered Smith upstairs in the bathroom doorway.
Smith asked if "Josh lived in the house," and the woman said "no." He "began to panic, saying he had entered the wrong house and that he had even used the toilet," according to the complaint. He continued to apologize, saying he was looking for a birthday party on a nearby street and called "Josh" to find out where the party was, according to the complaint.
She told the young man that he needed to go back downstairs, and offered him some food. He declined and left. She told police that he seemed to be under the influence of drugs.
After the party, as the family was getting ready for bed, the mother said she noticed her "small jewelry box, teal in color with floral print," was missing from her dresser. She told police that she could not find it and that it contained approximately 20 rings.
On Dec. 26, the daughter participated in an eyewitness identification photo lineup and identified Smith.
Later that day, her mother found her jewelry box in her mailbox. Some rings were missing. According to police, the missing rings are valued at about $800, and the rings that were returned were valued at about $1,800.