Niles man gets probation for theft, domestic violence

Published 11:28 am Monday, November 13, 2023

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NILES — A Niles man accused of theft and domestic violence was sentenced to probation Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.

        Gary Alan Yaw, 61, of Niles, pleaded guilty to attempted larceny in a building and was sentenced to 18 months probation, completion of the Twin County probation program, 90 days in jail with credit for 43 days served and $1,061.15 in fines, costs and restitution. He can go to the Twin County program after he has served 60 days in jail.

        The incident occurred Aug. 28, 2022 in Niles.

        He also pleaded guilty to domestic violence and was sentenced to 45 days in jail with credit for 42 days served.

        The domestic violence incident occurred Oct. 15, 2022 in Niles.

        Assistant Prosecutor Kate Arnold said Yaw’s cocaine addiction is the root of his problems as he steals to get money to buy cocaine.

        Defense attorney Kevin Mackin asked for a straight jail sentence rather than probation. “Putting him on probation is setting him up for failure and would waste the county’s resources,” he said. “He has to want to beat his addiction and I’m not sure if he is there yet.”

        Yaw disagreed and said he would welcome a probationary sentence. He said he has had trouble with cocaine his whole life but said he’s done with drugs and wants to get help. “I would like probation, I’m very tired of the way I’ve been living,” he said.

        Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith questioned why this time would be any different from other times Yaw has promised to stop using drugs in the past. She noted that Yaw has said he’d stop in the past but has gone back to using drugs when he is out of jail.

        Judge Smith said she would give him a chance to serve his sentence on probation but warned Yaw that he risks the possibility of a prison sentence if he violates his probation.