Home invaders headed to prison

Published 10:06 am Thursday, January 22, 2009

A trio of would-be burglars opted not to stand trial and pleaded guilty to their parts in a botched criminal scheme during individual appearances Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Preston Curry, 32, of Huntington, W.Va., and Jason France, 26, of 718 Mill St., Ironton, each pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

Each of those charges for each man carried a firearm charge since a gun was used in commission of the crimes.

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Derrick D. Bailey, 27, of Columbus, whom authorities said was the lookout for the incident, pleaded guilty to complicity to aggravated burglary and complicity to aggravated robbery, both with firearm specifications.

All three men are convicted felons and all of them additionally pleaded guilty to having a weapon.

It is illegal for convicted felons to have a gun.

Bailey faces additional charges in Franklin County. Frances faces additional charges in Kentucky.

Judge Charles Cooper sentenced both Curry and France to a total of six years in prison. Bailey will be sentenced at a later date.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said the three men went to a South Point area residence in September with the intention of robbing the couple who lived there.

In the incident, one of the victims was able to get France’s gun away from him and shoot him in the back.

France had previously appeared in court in a wheelchair but Wednesday had graduated to a walker and a back brace.

“I apologize for my wrongdoing,” Curry said during his appearance in court. His attorney, Roger Smith, asked Cooper for a brief furlough before Curry is sent to prison.

“He has been in jail since September. He has cooperated with the state,” Smith said. “This is a rather lengthy sentence. He does have his taxes to do.”

But Anderson opposed the idea.

“The defendant has a previous criminal history not only in this court but in West Virginia as well,” Anderson said. “The crimes did involve a firearm. A co-defendant was shot by the homeowner. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a furlough.”

Cooper agreed with Anderson and denied the request.

Neither Bailey nor France made any statements during their appearances.