LOGAN — A 32-year-old Logan man, James D. Merritt will serve nine-months in jail after previously pleading guilty to several home and vehicle burglaries two months ago.
The sentencing took place Tuesday morning in 1st District Court.
Merritt refused to comment after his public defender, Shannon Demler, told the court his client had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and had an alcohol addiction.
Demler also explained that the crimes occurred shortly after Merritt had been granted visitation rights for his children. He said some of the facts pointed to the defendant’s mental condition.
In February, Merritt pleaded guilty to a string of burglaries and thefts from September 1 through December 24. He was arrested on Christmas Eve, after being caught by a homeowner, breaking into a garage in North Logan.
The homeowner reportedly confronted Merritt and attempted to hold him at gunpoint while calling police.
Merritt rushed the homeowner and the two of them scuffled. The defendant then fled in a Jeep, hitting a mailbox and damaging the vehicle as he drove away.
Officers with the Logan City Police Department later located a vehicle matching the Jeep’s description, in the parking lot of a department store. Merritt was questioned and arrested. He originally faced 35 charges of burglary and theft.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, state attorney Aaron Jossie argued that Merritt be sent to prison. He said the details of the crimes were disturbing, and showed that the defendant methodically targeted multiple people.
Judge Brian Cannell said he would suspend the state’s recommended sentence of one-to-15-years in prison because he believed something else was going on when the crimes were committed. He also expressed his hope that Merritt would get additional help.
“One of the most disturbing feelings for a homeowner is to have someone enter your home,” said Judge Cannell. “The feeling never goes away.”
<hr /><p style=”text-align: center;”>email@example.com