A Marietta man was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for burglarizing the home of a neighbor whose husband had recently died.
Travis E. Pasco, 26, of 103 Muskingum Drive, pleaded guilty Aug. 16 to a third-degree felony count of burglary for forcing entry into the home of his next door neighbor Paula Colyer.
Pasco and co-defendant Dustin McKnight, 28, of 9230 State Route 60, Lowell, are accused of entering the home multiple times over a three-day span in May and June, stealing an as yet undetermined amount of household items, memorabilia and collectibles from the home and selling them at area antique dealers.
Colyer had not been living at the home since officers from the Marietta Police Department responded to a wellness check there in January and discovered the dead body of Colyer's husband, which had likely been decomposing in the house for more than a month.
"She was at the time (of the burglaries) living with her son while getting her stuff back together after the police raided the house and found her husband dead," said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.
Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite has said that no foul play is suspected in Colyer's husband's death; however, Colyer could face unspecified charges in the case. She was taken for mental evaluation immediately following the discovery of the body.
Colyer's family was alerted to the potential break-in by a different neighbor, said Schneider.
"I think another neighbor saw these guys come up out of the basement and Colyer's son came over and discovered the broken basement window and some things missing," he said.
Items stolen included several pieces of Fenton glass, a shop vacuum, a space heater, hunting knives, a collection of glass angels, clocks, a turkey roaster, oil lamps, and several pieces of memorabilia from Thermo Scientific, where victim Colyer's late husband had worked.
Some of the items were found at local antique shops. Others remain missing. The state was still working on putting together a restitution figure, said Schneider.
"The court orders that the restitution figure, once it is found, that the defendants be jointly...liable for it. If we can't come up with an agreed upon restitution figure by the time we make the entry, we'll hold a hearing," said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.
That money should go to Colyer's son, who is acting as her guardian, said Schneider.
Pasco was sentenced according to an agreed disposition despite not participating in the typical pre-sentence investigation interviews.
"The defendant apparently did not cooperate in the pre-sentence process so there is no pre-sentence report," noted Burnworth.
According to Marietta Municipal Court records, which only shows charges in Washington County, Pasco has previous convictions for theft, child endangerment and possession of drug abuse instruments.
He has previously served a prison sentence, said Schneider.
Pasco received 18 months in prison-half of the maximum available sentence-on the burglary charge. The court will not oppose transitional control, which means Pasco could be transferred to some sort of vocational or counseling facility during his sentence, said Burnworth.
"The hope is that transitional housing will help him make restitution earlier," he said.
McKnight, who pleaded guilty Sept. 20 to a burglary charge, received the same plea agreement. The state will recommend no more than 18 months in prison and not oppose transitional housing at his Wednesday sentencing on the charge.
McKnight has not previously served a prison term, but was on probation in another county when the crime occurred, said Schneider.