WOODSTOCK — Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp on Wednesday sentenced a local man to a youthful offender program after the defendant pleaded guilty earlier this year to breaking and entering and larceny charges.
Thomas Henry Caison, 20, was involved in the October home invasion of a Woodstock residence. He entered an Alford plead of guilty to the charges in March, maintaining his innocence in some of the charges but pleading guilty because of the prosecution’s evidence against him. The sentencing hearing was originally set for June 19, but, after hearing argument from both sides in the case, Hupp decided that Caison should be evaluated for the youthful offender program through the Department of Corrections.
A letter from the program submitted to the court showed that Caison was subsequently accepted into it, but Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Campola urged the judge Wednesday to reconsider sentencing Caison to six years imprisonment because of Caison’s lengthy criminal history in juvenile court.
“This defendant has been getting breaks since he was a juvenile,” Campola argued, adding that he had been prosecuting Caison since then and heard the same apology each time.
“This defendant, judge, has not gotten the message,” he added.
Caleb J. Routhier, Caison’s attorney in the case, argued that six years would be too harsh, especially considering that a co-defendant in the case, Drago Lee Lockhart, was only sentenced to a year imprisonment after entering a plea agreement, and that Lockhart had a serious criminal history as well.
“There’s this huge discrepancy between these two co-defendants,” Routhier said.
Campola noted that Lockhart was sentenced to a year because of his cooperation in the case against Caison, and that without Lockhart taking responsibility for his involvement in the crime, there would be no case against Caison.
Caison spoke at the hearing and expressed regret for his decisions. He emphasized that he understands consequences because the crimes he committed resulted in his missing life like prom, high school graduation and the birth of his son.
“As I got older, I missed out on so many opportunities,” Caison told the judge. “This is not the life I want to live.
“I now know what I want for myself,” Caison continued. “I’m asking the court to give me another chance.”
Hupp ultimately decided that the youthful offender program would be the best option in the case, given Caison’s age and willingness to turn his life around now that he is a father.
“This is one more chance at rehabilitation,” Hupp said.
Caison was given a complicated sentence to accommodate him entering the youthful offender program. He was given a four year concurrent and indeterminate sentence on two of the charges for the program because there is a four year commitment but there is the possibility of early release depending on his behavior.
He was sentenced to serve 11 months and 10 days on charges of probation violation and failure to appear in court. He was given an additional 12 month active sentence that will be suspended when he enters the youthful offender program. Caison was also sentenced to an additional five years and 36 months, all of which will be suspended.
For the Xbox stolen from the shed behind a Strasburg residence, Caison must pay $816.81 in restitution to the owner’s insurance company.