Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Man sentenced to 10 to 13 years in home invasion
By Gary V. Murray TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WORCESTER — A 24-year-old Southbridge man was sentenced to 10 to 13 years in state prison yesterday after a judge found him guilty of breaking into a woman’s home, arming himself with a knife, and assaulting her in her bedroom.
Deric Allen of 221 Everett St., Southbridge, was convicted after a two-day, jury-waived trial of breaking into the 22-year-old victim’s house on Central Street in Southbridge during the early morning hours of Dec. 16, 2006, grabbing a knife from a butcher block in the kitchen, and assaulting the woman in her second-floor bedroom while her 9-month-old daughter slept downstairs.
Judge C. Brian MacDonald found Mr. Allen guilty of armed burglary and assault and battery, after hearing evidence in the Worcester Superior Court trial. Judge MacDonald found Mr. Allen not guilty on a charge of assault with intent to rape. The assault and battery charge for which Mr. Allen was convicted was reduced by the judge from assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (knife).
Judge MacDonald sentenced Mr. Allen to 10 to 13 years’ imprisonment on the armed burglary charge, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. The judge placed Mr. Allen on probation for three years, to begin upon his release from custody, on the assault and battery charge.
Mr. Allen, who maintained he was intoxicated and believed he was in his own home, smashed a first-floor window with a brick to get into the victim’s residence, according to police. The victim said she was awakened by sounds she heard on her baby monitor and called 911.
A tape recording of the 911 call was played during the trial, as it had been during an earlier court hearing in the case. The victim, who remained on the line with a dispatcher until officers arrived, could be heard on the recording pleading with her assailant not to harm her baby.
Judge MacDonald described the tape during the sentencing phase of the trial as “an extraordinary piece of evidence” that reflected the “depth and duration” of the victim’s “psychic injury.”
When police arrived at the scene of the crime, Mr. Allen was on top of the woman on her bed with a knife in his hand, according to authorities.
Assistant District Attorney Paula J. Frasso recommended that Mr. Allen be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison with probation to follow.
Mr. Allen’s lawyer, John P. Morris, recommended a prison term of 10 years to 10 years and a day and a period of probation to begin upon his client’s release.