17-year-old Dillon Sutherlin was sentenced in 4th Judicial District Court Friday afternoon. Sutherlin, along with Jesse Hamlin and JJ Hatch, robbed David Simmons at gunpoint on January 30th, 2009 at Simmons' home in Sheridan. The three individuals beat Simmons and stole a large bag of marijuana from him. Initially charged with Aggravated Robbery, in July Sutherlin plead guilty to a lesser charge of Robbery per a plea agreement with the State.
Some discussion took place prior to sentencing, with Sutherlin's attorney, public defender Jesse Hardy of Campbell County; Darci Arsene, Deputy County Attorney in Sheridan and prosecutor for the State; and Sutherlin's mother -- all voicing some concerns to Judge John Fenn.
The VOA will not accept patients until they turn 18, which for Sutherlin, will not be until November 7th. His mother said that she feels it's imperative, and both attorneys agreed with her, that it is in her son's best interest that he be kept in jail until a bed becomes available, so he is not tempted to start using again.
Sutherlin's drug use has not been, said Hardy, your typical beer drinking and smoking marijuana. Instead, Sutherlin started at the age of 14 shooting up heroin and using cocaine. Hardy told the Court that in the 8½ months Sutherlin's been incarcerated in the Sheridan County Detention Center, Sutherlin has found being in jail to be beneficial, and likes being clean and sober.
Following their discussion, Judge Fenn accepted the terms of the plea agreement and sentenced him to the following:
4 to 5 years prison, suspended, in lieu of a split sentence for time served through the time he can get a bed date with the VOA; five years supervised probation immediately upon release from jail; after successfully completing intense residency treatment, Sutherlin is to move back with his parents and then enroll into Adult Drug Court or be under Intense Supervised Probation if he's not accepted into Drug Court.
Judge Fenn said to Sutherlin that his is “one of the most severe drug addictions for your age that I've seen as a judge; it's alarming...it's readily apparent to the Court that letting you out even for a few days [before going to the VOA] is giving you a chance to go into a tailspin. Keeping you in jail for a couple more months is not to punish you, but to help you...and is also a consequence of your actions [with the crime].”
For his part, Sutherlin told the Court that he wanted to say he is “sorry for hurting David Simmons and his family...I want a chance to get sober.”