Career criminal jailed

One of two men charged in connection with a series of break-ins at Red Deer businesses was sentenced on Wednesday for a different incident. Christopher Davis of Red Deer and Jaret Szoke of Sylvan Lake, both 35, have been in custody since their arrest on Feb. 26 by Red Deer City RCMP investigating a break-in three days earlier at the Peavey Mart hardware store at the south side of the city.

One of two men charged in connection with a series of break-ins at Red Deer businesses was sentenced on Wednesday for a different incident.

Christopher Davis of Red Deer and Jaret Szoke of Sylvan Lake, both 35, have been in custody since their arrest on Feb. 26 by Red Deer City RCMP investigating a break-in three days earlier at the Peavey Mart hardware store at the south side of the city.

Further charges were laid after police searched the vehicle in which they had been travelling, as well as a residence at Sylvan Lake. RCMP allege that goods recovered in their investigation include a plasma cutter, a generator and other goods reported missing from various businesses.

Davis and Szoke were jointly charged with mischief, break and enter, possession of stolen property, possession of break-in instruments and mischief. They each face multiple charges of breaching release conditions.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to those charges and asked to be tried in Court of Queen’s Bench by judge alone. Dates for a preliminary hearing on the break-ins will be set in Red Deer provincial court next week.

Davis, meanwhile, was sentenced to two years in prison for a violent incident in Sylvan Lake in the early hours of Feb. 24. It resulted in injuries to one man and about $32,000 in property damage after a police pursuit within town limits.

Reading a statement of facts for provincial court Judge Gordon Yake, Crown prosecutor Jason Snider said Davis had been chatting with a woman and two men at a bar in Sylvan Lake, and then followed them home and tried to invite himself in to continue the party.

When they declined, stating that they were out of booze, Davis went away and came back with a bottle of rum, said Snider.

Refused again, he left and then came back a third time with a knife, threatening to harm or kill all three and backing into one of the men with his car.

Police were dispatched at about 3:30 a.m. and found the suspect vehicle. It sped away, but lost control on Cottonwood Drive, skidded into a snowbank, flipped onto a lawn, slammed into a car that was parked in a driveway and then hit the garage, causing just under $16,000 in damage to the car and just over $16,000 in damage to the house and garage.

Police said Davis was arrested as he crawled from the vehicle and taken to hospital to be treated for injuries. The bottle of rum was found in the vehicle, partially consumed.

Represented by Red Deer lawyer Michael Scrase, Davis pleaded guilty to one count each of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, refusing to provide a sample of his blood to police, evading police and assault with a weapon (for hitting the man with his car).

Snider described Davis as a career criminal who has been continuously involved in the system since his first conviction at the age of 12.

In accepting a joint sentencing submission, Yake also prohibited Davis from driving for three years upon his release from prison for refusing to provide a blood sample, citing two prior convictions for impaired driving.

Scrase said he would have asked for a shorter sentence, but agreed with Snider on the recommendation for two years, which would allow his client to serve his time in a federal prison. Davis sought the federal sentence so he could take advantage of programs for people with substance abuse issues, said Scrase.

He and Szoke return to court next Wednesday to set dates in connection with the break-in and theft charges they face together.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com