Man gets plea deal in Rifle ‘drug dealing gone wrong’
Derrick Smith will serve 30 more days in jail on top of 236 already in custody, undergo three years of probation and complete drug court after forcing his way into a Rifle home and attacking the occupants in January.
The sentence, delivered Thursday afternoon by Judge Daniel Petre, also includes a suspended prison sentence and a requirement that Smith complete his GED.
Smith, 27, was originally arrested for felony charges of criminal impersonation, possession of a controlled substance, first-degree burglary, assault in the second degree and menacing, as well as misdemeanor third-degree assault, child abuse and theft. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges of felony possession and trespass.
If he completes probation, the trespass charge will be further reduced to a misdemeanor. If not, the prison sentence will come into play.
“My goal is to hang something over Mr. Smith’s head to convince him he cannot go back to that lifestyle,” deputy district attorney Peter Beyel explained.
“At first blush, this case is not a pretty one. The defendant is alleged to have broken into a home and started a physical altercation with the inhabitants,” Beyel told the court. “There’s more going on than what the affidavit suggests … Reading between the lines, I think this case is really just about drug dealing gone wrong and what happens when you owe people money.”
Beyel and deputy public defender Elise Myer agreed on most aspects of the recommended sentence that Petre upheld.
“I think there has been a significant amount of thought and consideration that has gone into this case,” Myer said. “I think what we have come to is a really fair disposition.”
She pushed for, but did not receive, a shorter probation period.
“Mr. Smith is walking out with significant consequences as it is,” she said. “He has sort of maintained at a misdemeanor level, and then this happened … I think it was a huge eye-opening experience for him.”
She added that Smith had already lined up a job following his release.
“I have no doubt that Mr. Smith can be a great worker and ultimately a great success,” she said.
Smith himself echoed her sentiments.
“I just want to thank you for this opportunity to continue my life,” he said. “I can prove that I’ll make the right choices.”
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