Russell P. Cessna, 25, of 18 Pleasant St., Le Roy, will spend somewhere near the next 15 years in state prison.
Cessna was sentenced in county court this morning for burglarizing more than a dozen homes in Genesee County.
As District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told Judge Robert C. Noonan, if Cessna received the maximum sentence under his plea agreement, he would spend less than a year in jail for each of his crimes.
Three of Cessna's victims told Noonan how Cessna's burglaries had changed their lives forever.
"I don't like that I don't trust people anymore," said one victim. "I don't like that I don't like seeing cars parked in front of my house because I don't know if somebody is looking at my house because they want to take something from me."
The victim suggested that when Cessna gets out of prison, he be required to do 2,080 hours of community service to reimburse the government for all the resources used to investigate, prosecute and incarcerate him.
Another victim said Cessna stole her wedding ring (custom designed by her husband, which she wasn't wearing during her pregnancy) and her graduation ring.
"He took away the two things that meant the most me and something that can't be replaced," she said.
Another victim also said he has become more distrustful and worried about people coming onto his property.
"You're going to have a lot of time in the next 1,800 to 5,400 days of your life," the victim said. "You'll be able to think about why you did what you did and why you didn't just get a job."
Noonan also received letters from friends and family who support Cessna, but there was also a letter Cessna wrote to a former girlfriend and obtained by the District Attorney's Office that Noonan characterized as "vile."
The letter was discussed extensively by Friedman and defense attorney Jerry Ader.
The letter was written shortly after Cessna's arrest at a time, Ader said, when Cessna was coming down from a severe heroin addiction. Cessna was unhappy with his former girlfriend for something she did that was unrelated to his criminal case.
Ader argued that the letter shouldn't be used as evidence of Cessna's character, yet he couldn't deny that it's a part of who his client is. But he's also a person with friends and family who support him, the attorney said.
"The letters do not paint my client in some rainbow," Ader said. "He is somebody who is troubled, who, while he may not admit it, has mental health issues, issues that run in his family and a drug problem that runs in his family. I'm not saying that excuses him. It explains him."
Local law enforcement caught up with Cessna July 31 as part of an undercover operation that located Cessna in the act of burglarizing a home on Summit Street, Batavia. He accepted a guilty plea to two counts of burglary, 2nd, on Jan. 16.
According to Friedman, Cessna cooperated with investigators from four different law enforcement agencies, admitting to a string of burglaries. Friedman said that cooperation did more to help Cessna himself than it helped law enforcement, because by admitting to the crimes, Cessna avoids possible separate prosecution later on new charges.
Cessna read a handwritten statement to Noonan.
"I wish I could take it all back, but it's too late now," Cessna said, adding later that he knows his actions were selfish. "I'm sorry. I hope they (his victims) can forgive me."
Noonan said Cessna's statement was "a reasonable response for somebody who has committed terrible acts against strangers."
But then there is that letter to Cessna's former girlfriend.
"The letter submitted that was written to a former girlfriend is one of the most vile things I've ever read as part ofa pre-sentence package," Noonan said. "Whether it represents who Mr. Cessna is or, as his attorney said, a part of Cessna, that this man would write such a very, very disturbing letter tells me a lot about the person I am about to sentence."
Cessna was also ordered to pay $32,107.15 in restitution.