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home : news : local   April 29, 2016

9/7/2013 6:02:00 AM
Home invasion case ends in reduced trespass charge

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

OTTAWA — Prosecutors reached a compromise deal with a man charged with breaking into a Peru home that he claimed was his.

Thomas L. Putman, 25, listed as a resident of both La Salle and Peru, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of criminal trespass to a residence. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison.

That charge, however, was significantly reduced from home invasion, the felony Putman faced soon after a May 25 fight with a man inside a Peru residence. Putman would have faced up to 30 years in prison were it not for a negotiated plea.

At issue was whether Putman actually resided at the Peru residence where the fight took place. Prosecutors said Putman wasn’t the owner of record and that he had been told to leave.

Ottawa defense lawyer Ed Kuleck said Putman had, in fact, resided there until a split with the homeowner of record. Under the law, a person cannot commit home invasion by entering his or her own residence.

The facts effectively brought the two sides to a crossroads: Prosecutors risked a full acquittal while Putman risked a long sentence with no possibility of probation.

In the end, prosecutors agreed to reduce the charge by four brackets, lowering Putman’s sentencing range from 6-30 years to 1-3 years. Putman, for his part, is headed to prison but should be out no later than summer 2014, being eligible for day-for-day good time with about 3½ months’ time served.

“It was the smart thing to do, given the situation,” Kuleck said.

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