Courthouse file photo

Clinton County Courthouse

File photo

CLINTON — In unrelated cases, two men were sentenced Thursday to up to five years in prison for burglary.

Michael D. Hunter, 48, and Neil R. Grayum, 29, each appeared before District Court Judge Joel Barrows, with Assistant Clinton County Attorney Ross Barlow representing the state.

In March, Grayum pleaded guilty to a 2013 string of burglaries at Camanche businesses, including Jersey’s Bar, Spring Garden, Junge’s Barber Shop and Luigi’s, that encompassed six separate case files.

Before the sentence was pronounced, Barlow told the court he recommended a prison term because of the large number of offenses, but pointed out that Grayum had already served a significant amount of time incarcerated in Illinois for incidents that took place during the same approximate time period as the Camanche burglaries. In addition, Grayum cooperated with Camanche police during their investigation. 

For these reasons, Barlow recommended the sentences be allowed to run concurrently.

Defense attorney Les Blair III added that Grayum’s incarceration in Illinois was “a bit of an eye-opener” for his client, who takes responsibility and feels bad for his actions.

Grayum spoke on his own behalf, telling the court that he “really regrets” what he did.

Nearly 19 months of incarceration have provided him the first chance in a long time “to sit down with a clear head,” he said, and think about what he did, and how it affected other people emotionally and financially.

“I’m ready to face the consequences,” Grayum said, adding that he started drug treatment at the first opportunity while behind bars in Illinois, and intends to continue his success on that path.

In total, the plea agreement included guilty pleas to six charges of third-degree burglary, each a Class D felony.

The agreement provided that all of the remaining charges in the six cases would be dismissed, including three counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, four counts of fifth-degree theft, and one charge each of second-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree theft. Grayum will remain liable for any claims for restitution that result from the dismissed charges. 

Barrows accepted the plea agreement, and followed the state’s recommendation that the five-year prison sentence on each burglary charge run concurrently. In addition, he granted Grayum credit for time served in the Clinton County Jail, and in Illinois while on hold waiting to return to Iowa. Grayum also received a $750 suspended fine for each count.

In separate proceedings, Barrows also sentenced Hunter to no more than five years in prison for third-degree burglary.

Hunter was charged with third-degree burglary, a Class D felony, following an incident Jan. 25. Online court records show a plea agreement was filed March 26, and a presentence investigation report was ordered.

The PSI author recommended a period of incarceration. Barlow did as well on behalf of the state, but agreed to drop a habitual offender enhancement that would add additional prison time to the possible sentence.

J. David Zimmerman, representing Hunter, acknowledged his client’s significant criminal record but noted he “is not a violent offender.”

Zimmerman and Hunter asked the court to consider probation so the defendant can seek treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues that have been the “driving force” behind his criminal history.

“I need treatment,” said Hunter. “My problem is way beyond prison.” 

In the end, Barrows accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Hunter to five years in prison with a $750 suspended fine.

He cited Hunter’s lengthy criminal history, the PSI recommendation and the need to “take into consideration the protection of the community” as reasons for the sentence.

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