WAXAHACHIE — Mitchell Keith Anderson, 27, was sentenced by a jury to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 on Thursday.
The Red Oak resident pleaded guilty to the felony offense of burglary of a habitation on Wednesday.
The jury then recommended that Anderson’s prison sentence be suspended and that Anderson placed on community supervision. By law, the sentencing court must follow the jury’s recommendation.
Judge Cindy Ermatinger, 443rd Judicial District Court, then imposed numerous conditions of probation on Anderson. The court’s order set the term of probation for ten years. Anderson is also prohibited from having any contact with the victim. He must pay restitution to the victim, and he must spend 120 days in the Ellis County jail.
On Nov. 13, 2015, Anderson and two accomplices burglarized the victim’s home and stole more than 20 firearms, along with ammunition and magazines. The stolen guns were subsequently recovered from Anderson’s home.
During the punishment hearing, the State presented surveillance video from the victim’s home, showing Anderson entering the house while wearing a mask and carrying what appeared to be a firearm concealed under a cloth. The jury also learned during the trial that, two years prior to committing the burglary, Anderson was placed on probation for the misdemeanor offenses of possession of a controlled substance and possession of a prohibited weapon.
The State alleged that Anderson used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the burglary. After jury selection, Anderson entered a plea of guilty to the burglary of a habitation charge and pleaded not true to the deadly weapon allegation. He elected for the jury to assess his punishment. Assistant County and District Attorney Jake Heffernan asked the jury to sentence Anderson to at least 10 years in prison and not consider probation.
In addition to recommending that Anderson’s sentence be probated, the jury also returned a finding of not true on the deadly weapon allegation.
Anderson’s accomplices in the burglary of a habitation were Aaron Perez, 28, of Red Oak, and Jordan Gail Caskey, 24 of Ennis.
The court sentenced Perez to seven years in prison and a fine of $2,000 after he pleaded guilty to the offense of burglary of a habitation on March 15. Caskey pleaded guilty to burglary of a habitation on April 11. The court sentenced him to four years in prison and a fine of $2,000.
“We were certainly surprised with the jury’s decision to place Anderson on probation. In light of the evidence presented, we were also surprised that the jury didn’t find the deadly weapon allegation to be true. But the system worked as designed, so we respect those decisions. A jury represents our community,” Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson said. “My office will reflect on the community’s decisions in this case as we evaluate similar cases in the future. I appreciate the time and effort that those citizens put into their jury service.”