Addicts jailed for break-ins

Jesse McClenahan (L) Jordan Skipper (R) Photo Credit: The Westfield News

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – Two city men, arrested last July for breaking into houses to support their heroin habits, have had their day in court and have started their years in jail.

Jordan Skipper, 37, of 2 Old House Road, Montgomery, and Jesse M. McClenahan, 30, of 3 Ethan Ave., had been charged for breaking into eight houses to steal what they could find – jewelry, electronic devices and in one case a firearm. City detectives had been working on the duo’s many burglaries for about two months when they got a break while investigating a break-in on Laflin Street and found that the duo had parked their car within view of a security camera. When the video was reviewed, the two men were seen returning to the 2004 Chrysler Sebring convertible which had a very distinctive pattern of peeling paint on the already conspicuous car. When detectives spotted the convertible on East Mountain Road, both suspects were found in it. Although Skipper denied using drugs when a detective searched him on the roadside, a hypodermic syringe was found sticking out of his sneaker. The hypodermic was later found to be filled with a heroin solution. Both men were interviewed and McClenahan told the detectives the truth about their activities. Skipper was then arrested and held in lieu of $25,000 cash bail. McClenahan was later arraigned for the same charges.

Both were arraigned in Westfield District court but in November the charges against both men were dismissed after they had been indicted and arraigned in Hampden Superior Court for the same offenses. Each of the defendants had a prior history of drug offenses. Both had submitted to facts sufficient to warrant guilty findings for possession of heroin at the district court level.

In superior court, each man faced eight charges of breaking and entering and eight charges of larceny of property valued more than $250. In addition, each faced a charge of larceny of a firearm for a gun stolen from a Granville Road house which, according to Det. Sgt. Stephen K. Dickinson who supervised the investigation, had been traded for heroin. In superior court, the two men pleaded guilty to their crimes and Assistant District Attorney James Forsyth recommended two and a half year sentences, to be followed by strict probation, to Judge Edward McDonough. Although the defendants’ attorneys asked the judge for more lenient sentences which did not include jail time, claiming that the men were victim of their addictions, the judge sent both to the Hampden County Correctional Center for two-and-a-half year sentences.

Skipper, who had been in held pending his trial for the better part of a year, was given credit for time served awaiting trial, will be on probation for three years after his release.

McClenahan, who had not been held and so will complete his sentence after Skipper is released, will be on probation for two years after he gets out of jail Dickinson said that he is pleased that they both will be on probation after their release from jail. “That’s better than just kicking them out” without any supervision and said that it gives them an added incentive to behave.“If they violate that (probation), they’re going to state prison” which he called “a whole different experience” than the county jail. He explained that Forsyth, who consulted with him prior to making his recommendation to McDonough, told him that the duo face the prospect of serving out their sentences in state prison if they violate their probation. He also said that he is pleased to see them go to the county-run jail because there are rehabilitative and educational programs available there which are not available in the state prison system.

Media Credit: The Westfield News

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