An Oklahoma man was sentenced Monday in Labette County District Court in relation to property stolen from the Oswego Cemetery last year.
As a result of an agreement, Johnny R. Carrington pleaded no contest on Nov. 7 to a charge of nonresidential burglary. Other charges were dismissed.
The Labette County Sheriff’s Department in October 2018 recovered $27,830 worth of property stolen from the cemetery. Carrington and Johnathan S. White were charged with burglary and theft. Stolen were a 2011 John Deere tractor valued at $14,500, a 2010 John Deere loader valued at $2,500, a John Deere mower deck valued at $2,200, two Gravely mowers valued at $7,300 total, a Generac generator, a Stihl chainsaw, hand tools and straight aluminum loading ramps, valued at $1,340 total.
A caretaker of the Oswego Cemetery said Monday everything had been recovered except a leaf blower and a chainsaw. The Miami, Oklahoma, Police Department and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture assisted in the investigation.
Carrington’s attorney, Amy Ross, requested a downward dispositional departure from a presumptive prison sentence to probation, given that Carrington cooperated with returning the property and that all of his other crimes were at least 10 years old.
Carrington apologized for what he did, telling the court he was going through some “mental stages” at the time. He told Judge Jeffry Jack he is receiving counseling and needs to remain free because his wife doesn’t work and he has two young children to support.
“I take full responsibility for what I’ve done,” he said. “I wish I wasn’t going through the mental stages I was going through, everything having the trouble I was having.”
Asked his diagnoses, Carrington said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. Asked where he was working, Carrington said he does not work but receives disability payments.
“So what you are telling me today is those mental health conditions caused you to break into a locked facility to steal items and take them to resell them?,” Jack asked.
“I don’t know what done it at the time,” Carrington told Jack.
“It’s greed that did it Mr. Carrington. It’s wanting something for nothing is what did it. It has nothing to do with your mental health condition,” Jack said. “It’s that you wanted to steal something and get extra money. That’s what you wanted to do. You may have these other mental health conditions, I don’t doubt that, but that’s not what caused you to commit this crime. You need to admit that to yourself.
“You can’t come in here and tell me you are accepting full responsibility and blame it on these mental health conditions. There are a lot of people with these mental health conditions that don’t go break into places, steal things and resell them. That’s a totally different thing, and I’m not here arguing with you, I’m telling you. You’ve had your say, that’s my say.”
Jack told Carrington it was his lucky day because even though he can’t stand a thief and hates excuses and Carrington pleaded no contest rather than guilty and lied to police, he was taking into account the age of his prior criminal history.
“For that reason I’m going to grant the dispositional departure,” Jack said.
For the felony nonresidential burglary, Carrington was sentenced to 16 months. The sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation for 12 months.
Jack, however, also imposed a 30-day jail sanction as a condition of probation but said Carrington could serve it after the new year begins.
“I’m not going to have you sitting in jail on holidays,” Jack said.