CORUNNA — An Owosso man who blamed a friend’s failure to provide a ride for him as the reason he violated probation, was sent to prison Tuesday by 35th Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart.
Damian McGregor, 28, was sentenced to one year, 11 months to five years in prison.
He was given credit for 327 days served. Stewart also ordered McGregor’s probation terminated, and McGregor to undergo substance abuse counseling while serving his sentence.
Stewart, however, left open the possiblity of the defendant being placed in a boot camp-style program.
McGregor’s now-revoked probation sentence stemmed from a 2017 case in which he was charged with 11 felony counts, including five drug-related charges, five weapons offenses and maintaining a drug house, after an undercover Michigan Area Group Narcotics Enforcement Team (MAGNET) detective made numerous controlled buys of marijuana.
MAGNET obtained a search warrant for McGregor’s residence and found half a pound of marijuana, Robaxin (a muscle relaxant) patches, a pistol and brass knuckles.
He was charged in April 2018 and pleaded guilty in June 2018. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped three drug charges, three weapons charges and the maintaining a drug house charge.
He was sentenced Aug. 3, 2018, to one year in jail and two years probation. The jail sentence was subject to waiver if McGregor agreed to attend inpatient treatment, but he declined to do so.
McGregor, however, violated probation by failing to report for probation appointments May 15 and May 28. Probation officials attempted to contact McGregor but received no response. A bench warrant was issued, and he was arrested June 5.
Tuesday, McGregor’s attorney, Doug Corwin, asked the court to sentence his client to one year in the county jail and discharge him from probation.
Prosecutor Deana Finnegan, though, noted McGregor ignored probation rules less than three months after being released from jail.
“Clearly he is not amenable to supervision within our community,” Finnegan said. “This young man had an opportunity. The court gave him a year in the county jail subject to waiver, with an opportunity to enter counseling, and he didn’t do anything. He didn’t do anything but abscond.”
McGregor blamed his violations on a friend not showing up to give him a ride to an appointment, which caused him to relapse and begin using drugs.
“What honestly happened was I didn’t make it. I got scared and I did relapse,” he said. “That’s why when the phone call (from his probation officer) was made, I was scared and I didn’t show up… The drugs are just a large issue for me… I’m not trying to make any excuses. I’m willing to admit I made my mistakes. I’m prepared for whatever the court’s sentence is.”
Stewart told McGregor the court would have helped him.
“We can’t help you if you don’t ask for it,” Stewart said. “When you abscond and we can’t find you, and you’re a danger to others, that’s on us. This court preaches, ‘Hey, if you got a problem, come see us and let’s deal with it.’ But when you run away, that causes a problem. And you’re exhibit A of that problem.”