Two Dowagiac men jailed for cutting tether

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A pair of Dowagiac men will be heading back to prison after destroying the electronic monitoring equipment attached to them while on parole.

Louis Gutierrez

Louis Gutierrez

William Bailey

William Bailey

Cass County Circuit Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Louis Ureste Gutierrez, 45, to a minimum of one year to a maximum of three years in prison, and William Joseph Bailey, 23, to a minimum of two years and a maximum of 15 years in prison, Friday morning during both men’s sentencing hearings in Cass County court. Both were punished for individual counts of tampering with an electronic monitoring device.

The two men pleaded guilty to their crimes on Aug. 27.

The charge from Gutierrez’s case stems from an incident that began on July 27, when the Dowagiac man removed the electronic tether he was required to wear following his release from prison on parole. Gutierrez had been released from incarceration from an 18-month operating while intoxicated charge merely four days earlier, on July 23, when he decided to violate his parole and remove the monitoring device from his body.

Police discovered the discarded tether in a yard at the intersection of Oak and Jay streets in the city, the judge said.

The next day, July 28, Gutierrez called his parole officer, letting her know that he cut his tether following an argument with his wife and that he was currently in Three Oaks. While the officer ordered him to turn himself in to custody by 4 p.m. that day, Gutierrez was not apprehended by police until two weeks later, when he was found by Dowagiac police at Beeson Street Bar.

“You didn’t turn yourself in, and you were found in a bar,” Dodge said.

The judge pointed out Gutierrez’s extensive prior criminal record, consisting of five felonies and 18 misdemeanors, many of which were related to alcohol and domestic violence, Dodge said.

Gutierrez asked for the judge to show mercy with his sentence, saying that he didn’t harm anyone during his flight from custody and that he wishes to serve a local sentence so he can be with his family.

“I know you say you want to be with your wife and family, but you really should have given that further consideration when you decided to cut off this piece of relatively expensive equipment and take off,” Dodge said.

The charge in Bailey’s case stemmed from an incident on Aug. 7, when he cut off a GPS tether device he had been wearing as a condition of his parole for a 2009 second-degree home invasion charge. He destroyed the machine in the process, causing $1,500 worth of damage, Dodge said.

“For who knows what reason you decided to cut off the tether,” Dodge said. “You yourself have indicated you’re not exactly sure why you did that, but you did.”

Despite his actions, Bailey still reported to his parole agent during their next scheduled meeting a few days later. The Dowagiac man informed the officer that he had removed the device because he had injured his ankle and was swelling up.

Bailey also has an extensive prior record, resulting in him being convicted as a habitual offender fourth for the tampering charge, Dodge said.

Both men will serve their prison sentences consecutive to whatever additional time they may serve for violating parole.