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South Bend teen sentenced for Niles home invasions

Published 11:53pm Friday, February 19, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star

CASSOPOLIS – If Jose Coria doesn’t get his act together, he could land in prison as a teenager.

The 17-year-old South Bend resident was sentenced to three years of probation and one year in jail at the Cass County Circuit Court Friday for his involvement in a string of home invasions in Milton Township in Niles.

Coria pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree home invasion and larceny of more than $1,000 in December.

Coria was part of a group of people who invaded three homes and stole more than $1,000-worth of property in September of last year. Stolen items included guns, computers and jewelry.

Prosecuting Attorney Victor Fitz said even though Coria is very young, the crimes were in no way childish and warranted a prison sentence.

“This is extremely serious, far more serious that he probably realizes,” Fitz said. “In situations where guns are involved there is a high level of danger. This was not a childish prank.”

Judge Michael Dodge acknowledged the severity of the crimes but because of his young age did not send him to prison.

“You’re off to a fast start in all the wrong ways,” Dodge said. “I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You are teetering on the edge of prison. If you don’t comply (with parole), you will end up there.”

Coria said he just wanted a shot at turning his life around.

“I ask for a second chance,” he said. “I made decisions I know I shouldn’t have done. I have two kids. I just want another chance.”

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