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Winthrop teen warned she could wake up in a prison cell

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By RYNE R. MARTIN

CANTON - The St. Lawrence County Court judge held up a sheet of a paper and warned a Winthrop teenager she was that close to spending the next two years of her life in state prison.

“I don’t think you appreciate what is going on. All it takes is a stroke of my pen, a pronouncement from me and you go to state prison. See this piece of paper. This is how close you are to state prison. It has got to stop now,” Judge Jerome J. Richards told Keshon L. Guyette, 17, of 625 state Route 11C, Winthrop.

Guyette was in court for sentencing for two felony convictions for fourth-degree grand larceny. The plea bargain agreement had called for Guyette to be placed on interim probation for one year and if she successfully completed that term she would be allowed to vacate her felony plea and plead guilty to two misdemeanor petit larceny charges.

But that deal was placed in jeopardy when an investigation into the theft of an IPod on Sept. 3 led to her arrest on a fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property count. She celebrated her 17th birthday as an inmate at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility.

Judge Richards said her latest arrest meant he was no longer obligated to sentence Guyette under the terms of the plea bargain agreement.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole Duve said she wasn’t opposed to allowing the teenager to still have a chance on interim probation, but she warned Guyette was running out of chances.

“I hope that the court can impress on her today it is time to put up or shut up or she is going to be facing heavy, heavy consequences. It has to stop now,” she said.

Defense attorney Rosemary Phillips said her client had health issues that needed to be addressed and noted she felt the teenager was starting to understand the gravity of the situation. “She is telling me she is feeling a lot of pressure, stress. I think she is starting to realize this could go very, very bad for her. In my experience, it is often difficult for young people to grasp the consequences of their actions,” she noted.

But Ms. Phillips said she was starting to see positive signs. She noted, for example, when Guyette was interviewed by a probation officer for the pre-sentence investigation she had suggested she shouldn’t have to pay restitution because she is a high school student.

Guyette now realizes she needs to make restitution, Ms. Phillips said, and is hoping to get a part-time job cutting firewood.

Judge Richards told Guyette it was a little late for her to start realizing the consequences of her actions. “You’ve had months to think. The last time you were here we had a conversation about how things work in the Navy. If it is not yours, you don’t touch it,” the judge reminded the teenager.

“My greatest fear is you are just going to wake up in a cell some morning and realize the next two years of your life are going to be spend in the county jail or a prison. If you are trying to be like your dad, you are on the right path,” he added, a reference to Guyette’s biological father.

“Anyone else would be in jai. I don’t know why you are any different, why you deserve a chance,” he said.

But the county court judge placed Guyette on interim probation, ordered her to make restitution of $803.95 and adjourned sentencing until Aug. 26, 2013.

Winthrop-based state police had charged Guyettewith 10 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and one count of making a false written statement in May.

She allegedly used a debit card that her mother, Wanita Donalis, has for a Cub Scout Pack 39 account at Seacomm to make $435.70 in unauthorized charges between April 16-25, primarily for the purchase of minutes for a cell phone. There was also a charge for an online dating site.

Troopers had also charged Guyette with 10 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny - phone service May 8. She had been charged with petit larceny May 7.

Joseph Donalis told police he discovered on May 7 his cell phone had been taken from a locker drawer in his bedroom. He said another cell phone had been missing since around Easter. He said he also discovered his debit card had been used to purchase $43.47 worth of minutes on at least seven occasions between April 26 and May 7.

“My wife found the missing cell phone (taken from the locked drawer) on Keshon stuffed down her pants, where I had to pry it out of her hands because she would not give the phone up. I never gave Keshon permission to get in the locked box or to take the phone,” Mr. Donalis told troopers about the May 7 incident.

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