Home invader returns to prison

A Cassopolis man is heading back to prison for invading a Howard Township home last fall.

Timothy Baker

Timothy Baker

Judge Michael Dodge sentenced 26-year-old Timothy James Baker to a minimum term of four years to a maximum term of 30 years in prison during his appearance in Cass County Court Friday. Baker was charged with second-degree home invasion, possession of burglar tools, larceny in a building and receiving/concealing stolen property more than $200. The Cassopolis man pleaded guilty to all four counts during an earlier appearance in court Feb. 29.

According to Dodge, the home invasion occurred at the residence of Niles’ William Hunsberger, located on M-60, on Oct. 22. At some point during the day, Baker pulled up to the residence’s driveway with his pickup truck, parking his vehicle before kicking in a door on the east side of the residence.

The intruder then stole a pair of flat screen TVs from the home, carried them out of the house and placed them in the back of his truck.

“Unfortunately for you, you were observed doing this by a nearby resident, who saw you commit the crime,” Dodge said. “You were apprehended a short time later with both TVs and a stolen dryer inside your pickup truck.”

Baker was on parole at the time of his arrest, for his conviction on two other home invasions in Edwardsburg in 2011. The Cassopolis man was sentenced to a three-year prison term for the offenses, Dodge said.

“Clearly we have a disturbing trend here,” the judge said.

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz pushed for a lengthy prison to be imposed on the defendant during his remarks to the court on Friday, pointing to Baker’s prior criminal behavior and the troubles his thievery caused the victim in this incident, he said.

“This man is an ongoing threat,” Fitz said. “When it comes to property crimes, he just doesn’t seem to be able to stop.”

Baker’s attorney, James Miller, requested an adjournment of his client’s proceedings that morning in order to have him examined for possible entry into the court’s Swift and Sure sanctions probation program, due to his ongoing issues with addiction. However, the judge objected to the motion, saying that Baker’s parole violation made it highly unlikely he would be accepted into the probation program.

Baker also spoke on his own behalf in court Friday, apologizing for his actions.

“I made a bad choice,” he said.

Baker was not given any credit for time already served, as his sentence is mandatorily consecutive to parole.

Also sentenced Friday:

• Brian Adam McDonnell, 42, of Edwardsburg, to two years of probation for possession of methamphetamine and operating/maintaining a lab involving methamphetamine.

• Reno Renee Reyna, 19, of Dowagiac, to 210 days in jail for possession of methamphetamine.

• Parnell Alexander Jenkins, 27, to 330 days in jail for attempted larceny in a building.

• Crystal Lynn Mack-Smith, 44, of Cassopolis, to 150 days in jail for possession of marijuana, possession of a switchblade and operating with a suspended license.

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