ST. GEORGE — A St. George man with an extensive criminal history involving drugs and burglary was sentenced on multiple state cases Thursday after he was sentenced to federal prison in an unrelated case the day before.
Casey Saunders, 28, appeared in 5th District Court Thursday to waive preliminary hearings in two cases. His defense attorney, Michael Lastowski, said his client was ready to plead guilty to the charges and was prepared for sentencing. His sentencing encompassed several previous cases trailing in the courts since July 2018.
Saunders’ sentencing coincided with a federal case filed in U.S. District Court Jan. 30, in which the defendant was charged with unlawful transport of firearms/felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance and narcotics possession.
Saunders appeared in U.S. District Court Wednesday after pleading guilty to the weapons charge and was sentenced to serve 30 months in federal prison. As part of the plea agreement, both drug charges were dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea. The defendant was granted credit for time served since his arrest Feb. 22.
According to a stipulation in the plea agreement, the 30-month federal prison sentence “is to run concurrent with sentences in Washington County.” Saunders was also placed on 36 months post-prison supervision.
Lengthy criminal record in Southern Utah
For the myriad trailing cases in Washington County, Saunders was sentenced Thursday on two first-degree felony counts of burglary of a dwelling, one second-degree felony count of theft, three third-degree felony counts of theft, three misdemeanor criminal mischief charges, three misdemeanor chargers of vehicle burglary, two misdemeanor counts of theft and five misdemeanor drug charges.
In one of the cases, the defendant was accused of forcing entry into a home on Donlee Drive while a mother and her young daughter were inside.
In another case involving vehicle burglary, Saunders was tracked down by police through an iPad he stole out of one of the vehicles.
In April 2018, police say Saunders admitted to taking a car and then driving it down the street where he later abandoned it. Court records reveal the defendant told officers that he took a large bag containing firefighter turnouts and a drone valued at more than $2,000 combined before leaving the vehicle on the side of the road.
Additional cases from July of last year include drug possession and burglary of a dwelling.
As part of the plea agreement in state court, two cases involving drug charges, driving on a revoked license and possession of a forgery/writing device were dismissed.
For all of the state charges combined, Saunders was sentenced to serve 365 days in jail on each of six counts, was ordered to pay $3,696 in restitution and was placed on 36 months of probation. The jail time on each count was to run simultaneously, while three prison sentences were stayed.
As per the federal plea agreement, the state sentences will run simultaneously with the federal prison sentence. Saunders will now be turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service to be transported to the designated prison facility.
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