By Marlene Bohr/Press Correspondent
A pair of men pled guilty to felony charges minutes after the Morris County Jury was picked and seated April 16, according to District Attorney Steve Cowan.
“The state stood ready for trial in the 76th Judicial District Court when defendants chose to plead guilty to the charges,” Cowan said.
Joshua Allen Sertuche, 28, of Omaha, pled guilty to burglary of a habitation, enhanced from a second degree felony to a felony of the first degree because Sertuche used a deadly weapon to commit an assault during the commission of the burglary. District Judge Danny Woodson sentenced Sertuche to 35 years in the Texas State Prison.
“The court also made a finding of fact that a deadly weapon was used in the commission of the offense,” Cowan said.
James David Finney, 17, of Mount Pleasant pled guilty and Woodson sentenced him to 10 years confinement in prison for burglary of a habitation, a second degree felony.
“Finney’s sentence reflects his lesser role in the burglary and his lack of violence during the offense,” Cowan said. “These sentences came just 69 days after the offense was committed, and during that time, the crime was investigated and the defendants were arrested. A grand jury was impaneled, the defendants were indicted, and they were found guilty in that short, record-setting time.
“On Feb. 6, deputies from the Morris County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a home invasion and shots fired at a residence in the Concord Community near Omaha. Multiple officers from several local agencies responded and found that a homeowner had arrived home in the middle of a burglary, and that the suspect had fired a weapon, striking her in her arm.
“Morris County Chief Deputy and Chief Investigator Robbie Gray led the investigation, which quickly led to the identification of the two suspects. Multiple items of evidence were also identified, located, and recovered, including a. .12 gauge shotgun, which was found and recovered by Deputy Stephanie Smith.”
Sheriff Jack Martin, Chief Gray, and their deputies, as well as officers from the Omaha and Naples Police Departments, the Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Gregg Williams and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office are to be commended for their quick response and diligent efforts during the investigation of this crime, according to Cowan.
“My office worked overtime to expedite the trial of this important case,” Cowan said. “We recognize the need to keep our citizens safe in their homes, so we pressed the case forward as quickly as possible, and may have set a new record.”