Probation, treatment program ordered in pill theft case
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A Glenwood Springs man who pleaded guilty for the break-in and theft of painkillers at Glenwood Medical Associates earlier this year will get one more shot at probation and a new chance at rehabilitation for his drug habit.
At a Tuesday sentencing hearing, Garfield District Judge James Boyd ordered Daniel J. Kramer, 24, to six years of supervised probation, and completion of the intensive Stout Street Foundation drug abuse treatment program in Denver, to which he has been accepted.
However, Kramer isn’t out of the woods yet as far as a possible prison sentence.
He is also scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 29 in Pitkin District Court in Aspen for violating probation terms stemming from a case in which he was caught stealing pain pills from monks at the St. Benedict’s Monastery in Old Snowmass last year.
In December 2010, Kramer was given a one-year deferred judgment and a probation sentence by Pitkin County Judge Gail Nichols in that case. The sentence allowed that the felony conviction would be removed from his record if he didn’t commit any new crimes during that time.
Kramer was then arrested on Jan. 27 of this year in Denver on a warrant from Glenwood Springs Police for two break-ins at the Glenwood Medical Associates (GMA) building on Blake Avenue, one on Jan. 13 and the other on Jan. 23.
It was after the second break-in that 19 vials of the pain-killing drug Fentanyl were reported stolen from one of the medical practices at GMA.
Kramer pleaded guilty in June to charges of second-degree burglary involving theft of a controlled substance.
At the Tuesday hearing, Deputy 9th District Attorney Anne Norrdin requested that Kramer be sentenced to four years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. Probation officials are recommending the same sentence in the Pitkin County case.
“Another sentence of probation would seriously diminish the seriousness of this offense, and the depth of the defendant’s problem,” Norrdin said.
Several of Kramer’s family members and friends were in the courtroom in support of the probation request by public defender Matt Morriss.
“Dan has broken his trust with our family, friends and the community,” Kramer’s mother, Trish Kramer, said in a statement to the judge. “We are all victims of his crimes, and the depth of his addiction is serious.
“But the likelihood of him receiving the treatment he needs in a prison setting is not good,” she said. “The chances that he would re-enter society as untreated and addicted as ever is frightening to me as his mother.”
Morriss noted that Kramer had been “clean and sober” for two years after going through a rehabilitation program previously, before he relapsed.
He described Stout Street as a multi-year lock-down program that provides intensive treatment and a gradual transition back into society. It’s an opportunity Kramer wouldn’t be afforded in prison, Morriss said.
“If he is given another chance to stay out of prison, it will be his last chance,” Morriss said.
Kramer also spoke on his behalf.
“I apologize to the court, and to my family and friends,” he said. “I am not a violent person, but I do suffer from a disease, an addiction. I feel a great deal of shame and remorse for what I did, and ask that I be able to seek help for my addiction.”
Judge Boyd concurred that prison would be the necessary next step if Kramer is unable to successfully complete the treatment program and stay out of trouble.
“You have a large amount of family and community support and commitment, and the challenge to you is whether you can share in that commitment, and get to a point of recovery,” Boyd said in handing down the sentence.
In the plea deal, two counts for possession of Fentanyl and a separate case involving the break-in and theft of more than $1,000 from the St. Stephen’s Catholic Church and School were dismissed.
Kramer has remained in the Garfield County Jail on $11,000 bond since his January arrest. His Monday sentencing in Pitkin County will be before Judge Nichols.
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