AUBURN — A judge sentenced a man Tuesday to eight years in prison for helping to rob the same Lewiston pharmacy he robbed three years earlier but had been given a break on his sentence because he had graduated from drug court.

Androscoggin County Superior Court Justice MaryGay Kennedy told Ryan White, 26, of 17 Pettingill St., Lewiston, that she’d spent “a lot of time thinking” about his case.

Calling him by his first name, Kennedy said she had gotten to know White over the two years he sat in her courtroom as a drug court participant.

“This is truly a very sad day for me personally (and) for me as a judge,” Kennedy said.

The fact that White targeted the same pharmacy for opiate drugs after completing drug court “is just remarkably shocking,” Kennedy said.

In considering his final sentence, Kennedy said one of the factors she had to consider was whether he might re-offend.

“I guess we know the answer to that, don’t we, Ryan?” she said.

Regarding his time in drug court, Kennedy said: “We gave you the best we had to offer.”

Kennedy said she agreed with White’s assessment of himself that he penned in a letter to the court concluding he needed help in preventing his backsliding behavior.

He apologized in a statement to the court Tuesday, saying he realized he must “go away for a good amount of time for the things I’ve done.”

“You show remorse,” Kennedy said, “but only when you’ve been caught red-handed.”

Prosecutors showed White in a videotaped interview with Lewiston police detectives after he was arrested for the most recent robberies. He began by promising to inform on a drug dealer who was bringing pills, cocaine and heroin into Maine. After he was rebuffed by the detectives, he told them his accomplice had acted alone. Only when presented with evidence of his complicity did he admit to his participation, prosecutors told the judge.

“You’re very good at convincing people,” Kennedy told White.

Kennedy said the fear White instilled in the pharmacy workers at the Rite Aids in Lewiston and Gray that he helped rob was a contributing factor in heightening his sentence.

In a complicated equation of consecutive sentences, Kennedy imposed six years in prison for the 2009 twin Rite Aid robberies in Lewiston. That original eight-year sentence had been suspended after White graduated from drug court. Because he had been on probation when he committed the newer robberies, those eight years were back in play.

Kennedy sentenced White to 10 years in prison for the new robberies, but suspended eight years of that sentence. He will serve two years for the newer robberies following the six years in prison for the earlier robberies.

Once he’s out of prison, White will be placed on probation for three consecutive terms of three years, for a total of nine years. The second term of probation is for his conviction of felony burglary at a home in Turner where he stole $27,674 worth of jewelry; the third term of probation is for a felony burglary at a Lewiston home, where he stole $18,840 worth of jewelry and a laptop.

If he were to violate any of the terms of each of the three probationary periods, he could end up facing eight years in prison for each, a total of 24 years.

Allan Lobozzo, White’s attorney, said his client had taken responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty to the crimes.

Lobozzo said White’s addiction to painkillers created a craving that distorted his rational thought process and controlled his thinking. His focus on his next fix overshadowed all other considerations, Lobozzo said.

White’s mother told the court that her son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from sexual abuse when he was a young boy.

She said her son’s time in jail since his arrest on the new robbery charges has helped him change his outlook and has given him time “to reflect on his stupidity.”

She said, “I don’t think he’s evil; I just don’t think he thinks ahead.”

White cried, his face in his hands, when his mother started speaking.

The judge ordered him to repay the victims of the two burglaries, as well as $1,690 to Rite Aid. Deputy District Attorney Andrew Robinson said the prison time he sought for White took into account White’s age and the amount of money he owed his victims; less time in prison will enable him to start working and paying restitution that much sooner, Robinson reasoned. 

White was indicted about a year ago — along with Alexander Madore, 25, of Auburn — and charged with two counts of robbery. They tried to rob a Lewiston Rite Aid on Nov. 4, 2012, but Madore fled after getting nervous. The two drove to Gray in White’s mother’s Jeep SUV to rob a Rite Aid later that day.

Madore handed the pharmacist at the Gray Rite Aid a note demanding prescription painkillers. He fled the store after he was given three bottles of pills. One of the bottles was equipped with a GPS transmitter that allowed law enforcement officers to track their movements.

White and Madore split the pills, each taking 206 Percocet tablets. White kept only eight of the pills and sold the rest, Robinson told the judge.

At the Lewiston store, Madore reached into his pocket, leading the pharmacist to believe he might have a gun, Robinson said. At the Gray store, the pharmacist thought he heard Madore mumble the word “gun,” Robinson said.

White violated the probation he was serving as part of a 2009 conviction on similar charges of robbing two pharmacies in Lewiston to get oxycodone. He was convicted and completed counseling through Family Treatment Drug Court as part of his sentence.

In April 2012, the Sun Journal published a letter to the editor from White in which he talked about his drug court experience, and his belief that “drug addiction is a disease that is treatable.”

He thanked everyone who was part of his drug court treatment, and said he was “no longer searching for drugs and my next fix. I have learned to be accountable for all my actions and how to effectively cope with any situation.”

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