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Niles man sentenced for destroying Law Enforcement Center holding cell

Published 8:30am Tuesday, April 20, 2010

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

William Oakes, 27, of Niles stood in a Berrien County courtroom Monday before Judge Scott Schofield facing charges of malicious destruction of fire/police department property.

The charges stem from a February incident at the Law Enforcement Complex in Niles on Silverbrook Avenue when Oakes had been taken into police custody. According to the defense, upon removal of his shoes, coat, socks and sweatshirt, Oakes “told police he was cold and “asked for some help” while in his holding cell.

Oakes’ requests were not fulfilled and it was after that, he tore open the mattress inside his holding cell, burrowing inside to get warm.

His defense attorney said Oakes, at the time, had lacked in maturity but that he’d seen changes in the 26-year-old father of three with a fourth child on the way.

“Mr. Oakes, you have a bad record,” Schofield said, adding he remembered seeing the young man before him when he first became judge in Niles around four years ago.
“In the last year,” Schofield observed, “You’ve been making better decisions about the people with whom you associate.

“Remember what has brought you some success and some happiness in the last year,” he said.

Oakes was sentenced to two years probation, ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and pay restitution to the Law Enforcement Complex of $72.

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