A Sharpsburg man who, along with his girlfriend, was charged with stealing from relatives to support their heroin addictions pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal conspiracy, theft and a handgun charge in Washington County Circuit Court.
Washington County Circuit Judge Daniel P. Dwyer sentenced Cory Ryan Butts, 22, of 4209 Mills Road to eight years in state prison.
Butts had been in court for a motions hearing, but entered the plea in two criminal cases in exchange for the dismissal of other related charges.
A co-defendant, Desirae Marie Churchey, 21, of Sharpsburg, was also scheduled for a motions hearing Tuesday, but Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Hansen told Dwyer the request had been withdrawn, and Churchey is to be in court next month.
“I just want to know why they think they can break into someone’s home and steal the things I worked my life for,” Patricia Milburn, one of the victims, told Dwyer during the hearing.
Gilbert and Patricia Milburn are the grandparents of Churchey, according to charging documents.
The Milburns reported their Churchey Road home had been burglarized on Aug. 30, 2011, and about 200 pieces of jewelry were stolen, along with a safe, two lock boxes, silver coins and a pair of .22-caliber handguns, according to the application for statement of charges filed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The Milburns told police they suspected their granddaughter and Butts, and had seen a car resembling one Churchey used when they left home that day, the documents said.
Some of the jewelry was subsequently pawned in Frederick, the documents said.
Butts and Churchey were arrested on Sept. 9 when a deputy pulled over a car believed to be coming from a reported disturbance near Knoxville. One of the stolen handguns was found under the seat Butts was sitting in, the documents said.
The following day, Butts’ sister called the sheriff’s office to report that she suspected her brother had stolen jewelry from her, the documents said. One piece of jewelry was traced to the same Frederick pawn shop.
Butts and Churchey were both “deep into addiction” to heroin, and it became the overriding compulsion in their lives, Assistant Public Defender Charles Bailey said.
In addition to the prison sentence, Dwyer entered a judgment in favor of the Milburns for nearly $17,000 — the value of the items stolen from their home.
Leafing through a seven-page list of the stolen items, Dwyer noted that the stolen jewelry and some other items had both monetary and sentimental value to the victims.