Bur­ton sen­tenced to six years, four months for home in­va­sion

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

Joshua Wal­ter Bur­ton hopes to stay away from drugs and ad­vance his ed­u­ca­tion while he spends the next few years in a fed­eral prison.

Last Fri­day, Judge Jac­que­line Brazil sen­tenced the 23-yearold from Bay Roberts to six years and fourth months in prison for in­vad­ing the home of an 85-year-old woman and try­ing to get her to leave with him to with­draw money from her bank ac­count.

Bur­ton spoke briefly to re­porters fol­low­ing his sen­tenc­ing at Har­bour Grace pro­vin­cial court. His legs were vis­i­bly shak­ing as he sat and lis­tened to Brazil. His sen­tence also took into ac­count three prior in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing one last Septem­ber when he stole a truck and hit a parked ve­hi­cle on Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way.

The length of Brazil’s sen­tence falls in be­tween the sub­mis­sions made by the Crown pros­e­cu­tor and Bur­ton’s de­fence lawyer. Natalie Payne was seek­ing a sev­enyear sen­tence based on the vic­tim’s vul­ner­a­bil­ity and the fact that although Bur­ton apol­o­gized and said he wouldn’t hurt the vic­tim af­ter fail­ing to con­vince her to leave with him, he re­mained in her bed­room for 10 min­utes. She ini­tially woke up to find Bur­ton at the foot of her bed hold­ing a knife.

De­fence lawyer Kevin Baker asked for a five-year sen­tence, feel­ing the facts of the case jus­ti­fied that sen­tence. He noted that there was no phys­i­cal vi­o­lence in this case and Bur­ton did apol­o­gize mul­ti­ple times to the vic­tim.

Brazil ul­ti­mately did not be­lieve Bur­ton’s apolo­gies in­side the vic­tim’s bed­room could be con­sid­ered a mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor. She also made ref­er­ence to the vic­tim’s short but im­pact­ful vic­tim im­pact state­ment, which she re-read in court Fri­day.

Brazil called Bur­ton’s case one of the worst she’s come across as a judge for sen­tenc­ing. She said his ac­tions dam­aged the el­derly woman’s sense of se­cu­rity.

How­ever, the judge be­lieves Bur­ton is a good can­di­date for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. His ad­dic­tions and men­tal health is­sues were ac­knowl­edged in the court, and Brazil hopes he can over­comes those prob­lems so long as he puts in the nec­es­sary work while serv­ing his sen­tence. If not, she ex­pects the young man will be doomed to a life of crime.

Bur­ton will re­ceive 190 days credit for time al­ready served. He has re­mained in cus­tody since May 10 when he was orig­i­nally ar­rested along with the co-ac­cused, Evan James Fry. Bur­ton re­ceived time-and-a-half credit for 132 days in cus­tody.

Po­lice found Bur­ton and Fry at Fry’s apart­ment, with a stolen ve­hi­cle hav­ing been tracked to a nearby park­ing lot. Bur­ton was im­me­di­ately ar­rested, hav­ing vi­o­lated a court or­der re­quir­ing him to re­main at his fam­ily’s home overnight. Fry was ar­rested a short while later.

Fry has en­tered not guilty pleas on all charges. His case will be heard in Har­bour Grace pro­vin­cial court Nov. 16-17.

Bur­ton will be sub­ject to a life­time firearms pro­hi­bi­tion. He is also pro­hib­ited from hav­ing con­tact with any of his vic­tims or with Fry.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

An RCMP of­fi­cer es­corts 23-year-old Joshua Bur­ton at the Har­bour Grace court­house. Last Fri­day, he was sen­tenced to six years and fourth months in prison.

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