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December 16, 2010 3:20 pm

Utah man gets 18 to 20 years for thefts, wreck

Written by CJ Baker

A Utah man has been sentenced to serve 18 to 20 years in prison for stealing items out of two Powell vehicles last year and crashing a stolen van.

Jeramie J.E. Large, a Salt Lake City-area resident, received the sentence last week from District Court Judge Steven Cranfill. It was the maximum sentence allowed by law.

A Park County jury had in September convicted Large of two counts of burglary, felonies, and misdemeanor counts of hit and run and failure to notify the property owner after a motor vehicle crash. The jury, convened in September, also acquitted the 34-year-old on a count of felony larceny and hung on a misdemeanor count of interference with a peace officer.

According to the prosecution, on the night of Sept. 29, 2009, Large had stolen a spotting scope out of a Powell resident’s vehicle — constituting one count of burglary — and stole and wrecked another resident’s van. Before fleeing the crash scene on foot, Large took cigarettes out of the van — constituting a second instance of burglary.

Police canvassing the area apprehended a reportedly bloodied Large later that night.

The jury acquitted Large of felony larceny relating to the stolen van. However, a juror told the Tribune the panel believed Large stole the vehicle; jurors just did not believe it was worth $1,000 — a requisite for a felony theft charge.

Particularly damning for Large was the fact that blood matching his was found on the abandoned, wrecked van. The scope had been found in his abandoned bag, and cigarettes matching the brands taken from the van were found in his pockets.

Large, who represented himself at trial after not being able to cooperate with public defenders, had argued police and the victims in the case conspired to frame him for the crimes. Large indicated he had been involved in the night’s events, but that another individual was primarily responsible.

At sentencing last week, Large argued for a two- to four-year prison sentence, suspended in favor of probation, said Deputy Park County Attorney Tim Blatt.

In asking Judge Cranfill for the maximum sentence on counts last week, Blatt pointed to Large’s lengthy criminal history.

“He (Large) had at least one criminal offense a year since 1994,” Blatt said in an interview last week.

Blatt said Large had been charged with more than two dozen felonies over the past 15 years, but had only one known felony conviction — a count of third-degree sexual assault in Utah.

In most cases, the felony charges ultimately were dismissed or reduced, Blatt said, with Large pleading guilty to misdemeanors. Large previously said in court that past charges against him had been overblown and were misunderstandings.

Court records and previous statements from Large indicate that he arrived in Powell in June 2009, driving a vehicle stolen out of Utah. It was only hours after arriving in town that Large was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Large pleaded guilty to those charges and served 90 days in the Park County Detention Center; at the time he burglarized the two Powell vehicles, Large had been out of jail for roughly five days.

As a part of his sentence, Large was ordered to pay $2,940 in restitution to Annie Nading, the owner of the stolen van. That covers the sum she paid for the van in late 2008, the new transmission she had put into it and the cost of having the vehicle towed to an auto body shop — where it was determined to be a total loss.

Along with $395 in court fees and assessments, Large also was ordered to pay $1,000 to the owner of the truck he crashed the van into, covering the owner’s insurance deductible.

Blatt said he believed the testimony Nading, who said she and her husband had only recently been able to purchase a new vehicle, and Nevin Jacobs, whose spotting scope was stolen, was key in getting a maximum sentence.

Blatt said Large indicated he plans to appeal his conviction.

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