On May 8, 2012, Marcus Dwayne Prater was given a 44 year sentence for his role in the theft of tools and other items from homes in the Harman area. During the sentencing hearing, the Commonwealth produced testimony from jailers who indicated that Prater had caused a number of problems during his incarceration as well as Prater’s probation officer who testified that Prater was not a good candidate for probation. Further, one of the victims testified that he worked various odd jobs to support his family and that the theft of his tools had essentially put him out of work.
During closing arguments, Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Arrington told the court that over the course of his campaign, citizens repeatedly expressed frustration with thieves being arrested and then turned loose with only a slap on the wrist. Arrington went on to argue that Prater had began stealing at the age of 15, had never worked a day in his life, and was on probation for stealing when he broke into the Harman area buildings. Arrington reminded the court that all totaled, Prater was facing up to 196 years in prison for his actions and asked the court to impose an active sentence of at least 15 years in prison. Ultimately, Prater received a sentence of 44 years with 36 years of that sentence suspended on the condition that Prater serve 8 years in prison and complete 10 years of probation upon his release.
When asked for comment, Arrington remarked that “one of my campaign promises was that if elected, I would vigorously prosecute repeat offenders and that my administration would treat theft crimes seriously. I take offense when someone who has never worked a day in his life is brazen enough to break into another person’s garage in the middle of the night and help himself to whatever happens to be lying around. While I had asked for and hoped that Mr. Prater would get an even longer sentence, 8 years should send a clear message to those who would rather steal than work.”