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Man pleads guilty, is given probation before judgment

June 04, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Visibly shaking, a 46-year-old former Fairplay man pleaded guilty Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court to fourth-degree burglary at his neighbor's home in January.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell gave Shawn Michael Patrick probation before judgment after the man's attorney, Martin Palmer, said his client had no prior record and has suffered from post traumatic stress related to his 20 years of military service.

Probation before judgment is a conditional avoidance of imposition of sentence after conviction. Failure to satisfy the conditions of probation may result in imposition of sentence.

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Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Robert C. Veil said that on Jan. 12, at 8:23 p.m., Patrick's neighbor was alone at her house in the 17000 block of Lappans Road when she heard someone in the home. Checking out the house, the woman found a visibly drunk Patrick standing in her kitchen.

After Patrick left and the woman's husband returned home, police were called. Authorities discovered spilled beer and a cordless phone on the woman's basement floor, Veil said.

Police took the phone and found that it was only in service near Patrick's house. When they interviewed Patrick, who police said was still visibly drunk, he said he was "just checking on the girl that lives there," Veil said.

Palmer said Patrick has moved to Cumberland, Md., to live with his father, whom he said has just found out the depth of Patrick's alcohol addiction. Palmer said his client, who served 20 years in the military including tours in Iraq, Bosnia and Kuwait, has been self-medicating his post traumatic stress with alcohol. He said Patrick would enter detox following the hearing.

"Obviously, he wouldn't make a very good burglar if his own phone is found on the basement floor," Palmer said.

McDowell, addressing Patrick, said the fact that he had no criminal record, that he had served honorably in the military and that he planned to enter detox, "says something of you."

He placed him on supervised probation for one year.

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