Ironton man pleads guilty in burglary cases

Published 10:05 am Thursday, October 15, 2009

The third in a group of daytime burglars who struck the Pedro and Kitts Hill areas this summer pleaded guilty to his part in the crimes Wednesday; meanwhile, a man accused of purse-snatching at a local eatery was arraigned as well.

Shon D. Williams, 24, of 1208 S. Second St., Ironton, told Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper he was guilty of four counts of complicity to burglary.

Cooper sentenced him to a total of 10 years in prison, the same sentence two cohorts received when they pleaded guilty last week. But with good behavior, Williams could be eligible for judicial release after 7 years.

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“I’m sorry for what happened,” Williams told Cooper. I apologize to everyone this happened to.” He wiped tears from his eyes with the end of the shirt sleeve at times during Wednesday’s proceedings.

Williams’ attorney, Mike Davenport, asked for a brief furlough before Williams is sent to prison, a request Cooper granted.

Williams follows in the footsteps of Ranae Schwab 26, of 1021 S. Sixth St., Ironton, and Sara Branham, 23, of Raceland, Ky., who both pleaded guilty to their part in the string of burglaries and were each sentenced to 10 years in prison. Charges are pending against a fourth person, William Sexton, 26, 204 ½ Mastin Ave., Ironton.

Authorities arrested the four people in August after residents in Pedro and Kitts Hill reported their homes burglarized. The four reportedly told sheriff’s deputies they would knock on doors of homes they intended to victimize to see if anyone was home.

If not, they would break in; if someone answered they would pretend they were looking for someone and leave.

Also Wednesday, an alleged purse snatcher, Emory S. “Scotty” Burke, 28, of 104 Scott Ave., Ironton, was arraigned on charges of tampering with evidence and resisting arrest and two counts of theft.

He pleaded not guilty through his attorney, Sterling Gill. Cooper set bond at $25,000, but not without some debate first between Gill and Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson.

Anderson asked Cooper to continue a $25,000 bond set in Ironton Municipal Court, given the seriousness of the charges and Burke’s lengthy criminal history.

He said he would be agreeable to Burke posting 10 percent of that amount. But Gill countered that bail is not meant as a punishment but is intended to ensure the defendant’s appearance for court hearings and at trial and Burke has always shown up for court in previous cases against him.

“He has a right to a reasonable bond,” Gill said.

But Anderson argued that bond is also meant to ensure the safety of the public.

“This man is a repeat offender,” Anderson pointed out. “I think this is a reasonable bond.”

Burke is accused of going to Skeeto’s Pizza in Hecla in August and asking to use the telephone.

When he was shown the telephone in the stock room, he allegedly grabbed two purses belonging to employees and fled.

He was reportedly chased by a sheriff’s deputy and a game warden and apprehended in the woods near the restaurant.

Burke must return to court in two weeks for a pretrial conference.