AUBURN — A judge sent a recent drug court graduate to jail Tuesday after he was discovered to have burglar tools in the bushes outside a Lewiston home.
Donald Ottis Hebert IV, 48, of Lewiston appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court, accused of violating the terms of his probation.
Hebert began in June serving the first of five consecutive two-year probations. In October, police said Hebert was waiting in the bushes outside the home of someone he knew. He had brought with him a ski mask, a chisel and a flashlight.
Justice MaryGay Kennedy agreed with prosecutors that Hebert's actions that night were consistent with new criminal behavior, a violation of his probation. He is expected to begin serving a three-month stint in Androscoggin County Jail starting Sunday; prosecutors were seeking two years.
His attorney, Allan Lobozzo, argued that Hebert had made great strides in turning his life around since he was indicted on 52 misdemeanor and felony counts of burglary, criminal mischief and theft in dozens of commercial break-ins between May and July 2011 in Androscoggin County.
Hebert held a steady job and had moved to a stable residence where he remained sober, but he had a slip, Lobozzo said.
Hebert apologized to Kennedy for his lapse. “I'm sorry I let you down,” he said. “I can't take it back. I own it.”
He talked about how his life had gotten “so much better.” He called the incident “isolated” and promised it would never happen again.
Kennedy told Hebert he needn't apologize to her.
“This has nothing to do with me,” nor did it have anything to do with drug court, she said.
It had “everything” to do with Hebert making a poor choice, she said.
Hebert's two-year probation will be extended by three months because of the violation. If he violates the terms of his probation after his release, he faces “much more serious” consequences, Kennedy said.
Hebert was sentenced to five consecutive clusters of suspended prison sentences plus probation after pleading guilty to 24 felony counts. Had he failed to complete drug court, he would have been sent to prison for seven years.
During the 11-week period of the alleged burglaries and thefts, Hebert is believed to have taken or destroyed well over $30,000 in cash and property from businesses and nonprofits in Lewiston, Auburn, Turner and Lisbon.