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Winthrop man sentenced to seven years in state prison for burglary conviction

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CANTON - A 24-year-old Winthrop man charged with stealing the life savings from his mentor’s sister has been sentenced to 7 years in a state correctional facility for a second-degree burglary conviction.

St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards also sentenced Mickey Q. Kerrick of 755 County Route 49 to a concurrent sentence of 2 1/2 to 5 years in state prison for a third-degree criminal possession of a weapon conviction. He was also ordered to make restitution of $40,244.51 and to pay $750 in court fees and surcharges.

Judge Richards said the restitution and surcharges and fees will be taken from his prison earnings, which the county court judge acknowledged are in the quarter a day range.

He will also be placed under five years of post-release supervision when he is released from prison. Kerrick faced a mandatory state prison sentence as a second felony offender. He has a Nov. 26, 2007 conviction for third-degree attempted burglary from St. Lawrence County Court.

The Winthrop-area man had admitted in the latest charges he stole numerous weapons from a West Potsdam home and broke into a Nicholville residence and stole a safe containing $28,000.

Kerrick confessed to stealing 22 weapons, including several rifles and handguns, from a West Potsdam home on Nov. 17, 2010. He also admitted to taking part in breaking into the home of Maxine Tharrett, 452 Water St., Nicholville, on Nov. 30, 2009, and stealing a safe containing $28,000. Nicholville resident Mitchell Printup also was charged in connection with the North Lawrence burglary. His case is still pending in county court.

Ms. Tharrett, in a victim impact statement she made prior to Kerrick’s sentencing, said her brother had been trying to help the Winthrop-area man turn his life around. She said she and her brother were thanked for that good turn by having Kerrick steal a safe containing her life savings.

“My brother was trying to introduce him into the building trades and hired Mr. Kerrick to give him some hands-on experience when he was building a home,” Ms. Tharrett said, noting they also provided him with lunch on the days he was working for her brother.

“When he was having lunch with us, my brother would go upstairs and get his for the week. That’s how we became his next victims,” she suggested.

Ms. Tharrett, who said she suffers from a number of health issues, said Kerrick probably thought the money he found in the safe he stole from their home was her brother’s.

“In fact, it was mine, my life savings of $28,000 in cash,” she said, noting the safe also contained important papers and other items. “I lost everything on Dec. 1, 2009. The loss of my money has put an undue burden on me.”

She said the crime also impacted her mental state. “My brother and I felt so violated. We both had trouble sleeping. It was weeks before we could leave the house,” she said.

The Nicholville woman said her brother had offered Kerrick a helping hand because he wanted to see him become a better person. She said she was hopeful Kerrick would be offered counseling assistance in prison and said she wanted to know what happened to her money.

“He has not shown any remorse for any of the crimes he has committed in the past,” Ms. Tharrett added.

Attorney Brian Pilatzke told the court his client had expressed remorse to him about victimizing a man who had been helping him.

“I think it speaks to his drug addiction. A great deal of this money went to drugs and his drug addiction,” he said.

Kerrick turned briefly and apologized to Ms. Tharrett before his sentence was handed down. “I apologize for robbing your house, Maxine,” he said.

“That doesn’t restore my money,” Ms. Tharrett countered, “especially with what it was used for.”

Judge Richards acknowledged it was unlikely Kerrick would be able to pay the full restitution.

“I’m going to order restitution and the total exceeds $40,000. But I’m sure you’ve hard the old saying that you can’t get blood from a stone. There’s not much chance you will get it. Up to now, he has been a stone,” he said.

The county court judge also told Ms. Tharrett he couldn’t order Kerrick to get counseling while he was in prison, but he said the Winthrop-area man could get out of prison quicker if he participates in programs that are offered to inmates.

“It will be up to him. But unless he likes prison he’s likely to engage in some programs,” the county court judge noted.

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