By Michael R. Moser
A Cumberland County man facing 22 burglary and theft charges avoided a trial the day he was supposed to face a jury when he entered a plea agreement and received a ten-year prison sentence.
Brian Andrew Melton, 39, who had lived on Chestnut Hill Rd. and Ponderosa Dr., was facing the host of charges that stemmed from a theft spree from Sept. 29, 2011, to August of last year.
Represented by defenst attorney Cynthia Davis, Melton had insisted on a jury trial on the charges and one was set for July 3. But the night before, Melton had a change of heart and after intense negotiations between Davis and Assistant District Attorney Caroline Knight, the sentencing agreement was reached.
Instead of facing a jury, Melton stood before Criminal Court Judge David Patterson and told the court he was waiving his right to a trial, understood the charges against him and the sentencing agreement he was entering, and then entered his plea.
He pleaded guilty to six counts of theft of more than $1,000, two counts of aggravated burglary and theft of less than $500, one count of burglary and one count of theft of more than $500. The remaining charges were dropped. He was also given credit for 14 days already served in jail.