Friday, Nov 28, 2014
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Man, 32, gets 25 years for probation violations

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BROOKSVILLE -

A 32-year-old Spring Hill man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Thursday for violating his probation.

Richard Martin Biser was incarcerated from February 2011 through April 2012 on six burglary charges and a dealing in stolen property charge, and was released on drug offender probation, according to the Department of Corrections website.

Biser was arrested in December 2012, and the state is pursuing three charges of each of the following: dealing in stolen property, defrauding a pawn broker and burglary of a dwelling.

Judge Daniel Merritt Jr. found Biser had violated his probation and gave him 25 years in prison. Biser is considered a prison release re-offender because the offenses were committed within three years of being released from prison.

Earlier in the afternoon, Biser signed an open plea in court that would have given him 20 years.

Merritt, however, did not accept the deal, because Biser maintained his attorney, Ray Shaw of the public defender’s office, did not discuss possible defenses in the case with him.

Shaw told the judge that he informed his client that he took depositions in the case, and that his defenses were limited because Biser had confessed to the crimes and other evidence tied him to them.

“I wasn’t told anything other than they (depositions) were completed,” Biser told Merritt, adding that he understood if he didn’t take the deal, he faced even more time behind bars.

“Going to prison for 20 years is better than the alternative,” Biser said.

Assistant State Attorney Matthew Pila said the state had offered Biser a 22-year sentence previously.

Before the hearing, Biser’s mother, Trish Schmidt, begged both Shaw and Pila to consider drug offender probation for her son. Both told her because of the nearly 10 charges, and his re-offender status, that probation was impossible.

Schmidt said her son, who has an 8-year-old daughter, did not use any weapons in the burglaries, and that he had a job as a carpet installer waiting for him if he was released.

“Why can’t we just get help for these kids?” Schmidt asked. “He was stealing to support his drug habit.”

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