Frye sentenced to 8 1/2 years

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Howard L. Frye, 40, of Keithsburg, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in the Department of Corrections in Mercer County Court on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008.

He was arrested on May 25 and charged with commercial burglary, a Class 2 felony; aid, abet, possess, sell stolen vehicle, a Class 2 felony; receive, possess, sell stolen vehicle, a Class 3 felony; theft, unauthorized control greater than $300, less than $10,000.

In a plea agreement, Frye pled guilty to the burglary charge and the three remaining charges were dismissed.

He was arrested for this on May 27, 2008 and was additionally charged on Oct. 11 with two other crimes -- obstruct justice, destroy evidence, a Class 4 felony and theft, control, intent less than $300, a class A misdemeanor. These two charges were also dismissed in the plea agreement.

Frye was facing from three to seven years in he DOC for these charges, which was extendable to from seven to 14 years, due to his previous record. He also faced two years supervised release and up to $25,000 fine.

His constitutional and trial rights were explained by Judge James G. Conway, which he declined.

If a trial had been held, Mercer County States Attorney Gregory McHugh said he would have brought forward evidence connecting the defendant to a break-in at Lane R. Hyetts on May 25, 2008, where various lawn tractors and a truck were taken. There was also unlawful entry at TJ's Trucking, where the defendant stole a tractor. After that Frye was also planning on taking other vehicles, said McHugh.

Besides the 8 1/2 year prison sentence, Frye was ordered to pay restitution to Lane Hyett ($100) and TJ Trucking ($698.53). Frye waived a presentence report and investigation from the probation department and the sentencing hearing and was given credit for 77 days actual (154 credit), served in Mercer County Jail.

Public defender Clarence Darrow asked the court to release some of the $1,000 bond money that had been paid for Frye's release on bond, to Frye's wife, due to hardship, because the family had a hardship due to flooding at their home this spring and had been dislocated from their house.

"The hardship to the family is unfortunate," Judge Conway said, but he denied the motion to return some of the money, because there needs to be consequences for the defendant's actions.

Frye is also facing residential burglary charges in Rock Island County.

Mercer County Court will make a recommendation that any Rock Island charges that are plea bargained to a prison sentence, would run concurrently with the Mercer County penalties.