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October 04, 2012 8:05 am

Powell man to serve probation, pay bill for downtown break-in

Written by CJ Baker

Seven months of jail time, five years of probation and a nearly $4,200 bill was the sentence given a 22-year-old Powell man for a downtown break-in.

At a Wednesday court hearing, Christian Hallman apologized for burglarizing Powell Drug last January.

“I’m truly sorry for what I did,” Hallman told District Court Judge Steven Cranfill. “I regret it.

“I was just in the wrong state of mind. I was making bad decisions,” he said. “I don’t believe it was me making the decisions, it was mostly the drugs.”

Cranfill accepted a plea agreement reached between the Park County Attorney’s Office and Hallman’s court-appointed defense attorney, Nick Beduhn of Cody. The judge sentenced Hallman to four to six years in prison, suspended in favor of five years of supervised probation. Cranfill also ordered him to pay $245 to the court and $4,181.73 in restitution for the damage he caused at Powell Drug. A count of property destruction was dismissed.

Hallman had broken into the store through air ducts on the roof on the morning of Jan. 4, charging documents say. He later told police he was addicted to prescription drugs and — drunk that night — wanted more pills. Hallman tripped the drug store’s alarm system upon exiting the duct, charging documents say. Hallman reportedly panicked when he found the doors locked and threw an antique stove through the front door to flee.

Powell police got their break in the case when an informant later reported hearing an acquaintance of Hallman’s saying he had committed the burglary. Police say they also were aided by shoe prints and a Daytona Beach, Fla., sweatshirt Hallman left at the scene.

As a part of his sentence, Hallman must undergo outpatient treatment for substance abuse and stay away from alcohol and illegal drugs while on probation. Hallman was credited for the 204 days he served in jail between his Jan. 18 arrest and release on bond on Aug. 8.

Hallman said Wednesday that being in jail showed him how much he loved his friends and family and that “it’s just not worth it, the pills and drugs.”

He noted he’d lost almost seven months of his life in the Park County jail, calling it wasted time.

“Well, not if it convinced you to think differently, it isn’t,” said Judge Cranfill.

“It was kind of like a blessing in disguise,” Hallman agreed. “It got me sober.”

Prior to imposing the sentence, Cranfill expressed concern that past problems haven’t changed things. He also referenced reports that Hallman is a good worker and that things go great when he’s sober, but he struggles when he’s not.

“That just happens with a lot of people, and you’ve got to decide that you can’t do that, because now if you violate your probation, you’re going to have a four- to six-year prison sentence hanging over your head,” Cranfill said.

“Yes, sir,” said Hallman.

“And I hope that should be significant for you to complete your probation and to start making good decisions,” Cranfill said.

Hallman said he wants to get a better-paying job than the part-time work he has now, and he wants to pay off his court debts as soon as possible.

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