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‘Career criminal’ imprisoned

Published 5:39pm Monday, July 23, 2012


A woman who stole a vacuum cleaner from Walmart in Niles Charter Township to sell for money to afford a gravestone for her daughter received 20 to 60 months Monday.

Deborah Christine Williams, 40, of Benton Harbor, was guilty of first-degree retail fraud, a five-year felony.

She tearfully told Judge Dennis M. Wiley, “I don’t want to go to prison” Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

“I’m sure you told that to all the other judges,” he replied, adding that after stooping to steal money to buy a headstone, “There’s nothing left.”

As Assistant Prosecutor Cara Wilkinson pointed out, with 31 prior convictions, including four for substance abuse, going back to 1989, Williams is a “career criminal” who had been adept at “skating away.”

Wiley, crediting Williams with six days spent in jail, also ordered her to pay $1,998, including a $500 fine, $1,000 court costs and $300 attorney fees.


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