Jail will wait so burglar’s back can heal

Lingering back problems kept a Marietta man from immediately serving his time on a burglary charge Wednesday.

Shawn L. Whittekind, 35, of 763 Glendale Road, pleaded guilty in January to a third-degree felony charge of burglary for a June 16 incident in which he burglarized the home of a friend, purportedly in order to help fund a drug addiction, said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.

Neighbors stopped Whittekind from leaving the Seventh Street residence, and many of the items, including an Xbox, were immediately returned, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider. However, some medication taken from the residence was never found, he added.

Burnworth sentenced Whittekind Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to 90 days in the county jail.

However, Whittekind’s attorney produced a note from a physician saying Whittekind was soon scheduled for a consultation for a lower back injury.

“As we discussed with the court, Mr. Whittekind will shortly be going to undergo back surgery,” said defense attorney Joe Brockwell.

Brockwell suggested making arrangements that would ensure the county would not incur any medical costs during Whittekind’s jail stint. Brockwell recommended postponing the sentencing until after Whittekind’s mid-March consultation with a doctor in Columbus.

Schneider expressed concern that he had not received notification preceding the sentencing that Whittekind was going to be unable to immediately serve time.

“Is that a consultation or the actual surgery?” asked Schneider. “If that’s just the consultation the surgery might not happen until 2014. We don’t want to postpone it that long.”

Burnworth suggested sending Whittekind to jail to serve part of his sentence and then releasing him to attend his consultation and subsequent surgery.

“Typically we would want him to go into the jail and then be released. That way if he didn’t come back it would be an escape charge,” he pointed out.

Schneider agreed.

“Put him in jail today,” he said. “Let him out tomorrow and set a date where the defense has to come with a letter from a doctor stating the problem.”

But Whittekind protested so much as a day in jail before his surgery is complete.

“If I was in jail right now, it would kill me in that environment. I literally lie on my back all day,” he said.

Burnworth agreed to have him booked and immediately released from the jail. He gave him three months to get his medical affairs in order, and Whittekind will be required to report to the jail in late May to serve his 90-day sentence.

He was also sentenced to five years of community control. Burnworth ordered him to report to his probation officer directly after being released from the jail Wednesday.

Whittekind apologized for his actions during his statement to the court.

“I’m very sorry I did what I did. I’ll never forgive myself for what I put my children through, what I put my family through, what I put my friends through,” he said.