Man sentenced to prison for stealing from Niles Walmart, assaulting officer

NILES – Prison and probation sentences were handed down to area residents Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

Dillon Eli McCaslin, 27, pleaded guilty to larceny of a firearm and assault of a prison/jail employee and was sentenced to concurrent prison terms. He received a prison term of 24 months to five years on the assault charge and 14 months to five years on the larceny charge. He has credit for 65 days served and must pay $990 in fines, costs and restitution.

The assault incident occurred on May 17 at the Berrien County Jail. The larceny incident occurred April 30 at the Niles Wal-Mart.

Defense attorney Scott Sanford asked for a probation sentencing. He said McCaslin has a significant drug problem as well as mental health issues.

“He self-medicates,” Sanford said. “He stole the firearm because he had fears for his safety.”

“I got to the point where I thought everybody was out to get me,” McCaslin said. “I stole money from my mom and I let everyone down. I stole a gun I didn’t need from Wal-Mart. I really need help. Prison is not going to help, I’ve been there three times.”

Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock questioned McCaslin for continuing to make bad choices after being in prison three times.

Michael L. Womack, 62, pleaded guilty to third-offense drunk driving and was sentenced to 24 months to five years in prison. He has credit for 58 days served and must pay $198 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred May 16 in Berrien Springs.

Sanford asked for a probation sentence as Womack is facing a prison term from charges in Van Buren County.

“This was your ninth drunk driving conviction,” Judge Schrock said. “Your record speaks for itself. You were on probation for the same offense when this offense was committed. You leave the court no choice at this time. I understand your addiction, that doesn’t excuse how you behave.”

In another case, Matthew York, 26, pleaded guilty to tampering with an electronic device and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, $198 in fines and costs and $547 in restitution.

The incident occurred Sept. 30, 2020, when York cut off his electronic tether and absconded. He has no credit for time served as he was on parole at the time of the incident.

While Sanford said York got frustrated when he could not meet with a probation officer when requested because of work demands.

“He was trying to operate his business, and he got frustrated and cut off his tether,” he said.

“What I would suggest to you is that this is a demonstration of a problem you’ve had,” Judge Schrock said. “You’re not a rule follower. If what your attorney said is true, anybody can understand your frustration but you deal with it. You didn’t make a decision to finish your job and face sanctions but to cut off and flee. That is a reflection on your behavior.”

“You’re the one who made the choices, nobody but you,” he added. “These decisions all have consequences. You were on parole for meth. It was not just you interfered with an electronic device but you absconded for a significant period of time.”

In other sentencings:

  • Aaron Andrew Smith, 41, pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to three years’ probation, credit for three days served and $598. The incident occurred Feb. 22.
  • Earl Shepherd pleaded guilty to attempted resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to credit for three days served and $947.95 in fines, costs and restitution. The incident occurred March 27 in Niles.
  • Melissa Modlin pleaded guilty to manufacture/distribution of an imitation controlled substance and was sentenced to two years’ probation, 90 days in jail with credit for 34 days served and $758 in fines and costs. She can serve the rest of her jail in the Twin County Probation program. The incident occurred April 6 in Niles.
  • Westley Gollon pleaded guilty to fleeing and eluding police and domestic violence and was sentenced to two years’ probation in mental health court, credit for two days served and $658 in fines and costs on the fleeing charge and credit for one day served and $435 for the domestic violence charge. The incidents occurred Aug. 11 in Berrien Springs on the fleeing charge and April 14 on the domestic violence charge.
  • Amanda Adkins, 33, pleaded guilty to retaining a financial transaction device without consent and was sentenced to two years’ probation in the KPEP program, 90 days in jail with credit for 55 days served, $258 in fines and costs and $1,809 in restitution. The incident occurred Nov. 29, 2020, in Buchanan.

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