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Men enter pleas in June burglary cases

October 11, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Two men entered pleas in Washington County Circuit Court on Tuesday to charges in a reported burglary spree throughout the county this summer, court records show.

James Richard Farris III, 21, of 15384 Clear Spring Road in Williamsport, entered an Alford plea to aggravated animal cruelty and pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree burglary and three counts of felony theft in four separate cases, court records show.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict.

Christopher Lee Nicely, 23, of 6332 Coffman Farms Road in Keedysville, pleaded guilty to three counts of felony theft, two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of misdemeanor theft in five separate cases, according to court documents.

Circuit Judge John H. McDowell ordered presentence investigations for both men Tuesday and ordered them to remain at the county jail pending sentencing, court records show.

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Nicely and Farris were charged in a series of burglaries reported in Washington County in June, Washington County Sheriff's Department Investigator Greg Alton said.

The first reported burglary was June 21 in Williamsport. The men were caught in the act of another burglary June 28 in Williamsport, Alton said.

On the day they were apprehended, Nicely allegedly admitted to their involvement in two additional burglaries June 28 - one in Boonsboro and one in Clear Spring, Alton said.

Nicely was not charged in the Boonsboro burglary, according to Sheriff's Department records.

Police later connected the pair to a June 23 burglary in Keedysville and a June 26 burglary in Smithsburg, in which a dog was brutally beaten, he said.

Farris was not charged in the June 23 burglary, according to Sheriff's Department records.

Nicel also was charged by Maryland State Police in connection with a separate burglary, he said.

The men knew most of the victims in the cases, Alton said.

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