Friday, May 24, 2013
Kennebec County Superior Court
AUGUSTA -- Deborah Hughes came to court Monday to advocate for a woman whose boyfriend had burglarized Hughes' house.
Emily Allen-Perry of Augusta
Hughes, of China, spoke at a sentencing hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court for Emily L. Allen-Perry, 22, of Jefferson, who pleaded guilty last month to committing 46 crimes in Kennebec County, most of them burglaries and thefts.
Allen-Perry's recommended sentence was to be seven years in jail, with at least five years suspended, and two years of probation. The only question for the judge was how much initial jail time the woman would serve.
"My house was one of those broken into," Hughes said. "I never would have expected Emily to do something like that."
Hughes asked for justice tempered with mercy for Allen-Perry, whom she's known for seven years as a friend of her daughter.
"I know she's learned a lot from this," Hughes said. "I would leave her in my home and I would let her watch it. This has taught her some immense lessons. I want you to take that into consideration."
Allen-Perry, who the prosecutor said was the driver and lookout while her boyfriend burglarized scores of houses over a three-month period last year, was ordered to serve 15 months in the county jail.
Her attorney, Walter McKee, asked for a sentence that would keep Allen-Perry in the county jail rather than in a state prison.
Assistant District Attorney Brad Grant asked for an initial 24 months behind bars.
At the hearing, Allen-Perry apologized to the victims and to her family and told the judge she initially rationalized her role by thinking that "driving him to places where he would steal was not really a crime because I didn't go in."
"I'll never know whether John would have committed these crimes if I didn't drive him," she said, adding, "In the end, I know I have only myself to blame."
Her former boyfriend, John Grotton, was at the hearing too, in the blue work shirt and jeans of prisoners at the Maine State Prison, where he is serving five years, the unsuspended portion of his 20-year sentence. After he is released, Grotton will be on probation for eight years. He pleaded guilty to 93 crimes, all part of the same spree, and has to pay $98,000 in restitution.
McKee and Grant both said Grotton's addiction to painkillers fueled the crime spree. Jewelry, money and electronics were the most frequently stolen items in the break-ins, and Allen-Perry pawned some of them locally. They were charged after a victim recognized some distinctive jewelry on sale.
"I brought all this on us," Grotton said. He described Allen-Perry as "one of sweetest, most kind-hearted persons."
"I led her down this path, and this is something I'm going to have to live with," he told the judge, before returning to a courtroom bench and putting his head in his hands.
Allen-Perry was ordered to pay more than $54,000 in restitution.
Grant said Allen-Perry cooperated with authorities after being confronted last December, and she showed detectives the homes Grotton had burglarized while she waited nearby in a vehicle.
Her father, Paul Perry, said he was concerned about Emily's future and hoped she could finish college and salvage some of her future.
Her mother, Stephanie Allen-Perry, said Emily had been a high school honor student and studying nursing in college.
"It's too bad," Stephanie Allen-Perry said. "The world's going to miss out on a terrific nurse."
Grotton's sister, Kiley J. Grotton, 23, of Augusta, was indicted in February on three counts each of burglary and theft and two counts of violation of conditions of release, all related to the same series of crimes. Those charges remain pending.
Betty Adams -- 621-5631