LIMA — A 38-year-old Lima man with what prosecutors called an “extremely lengthy” list of violent criminal convictions dating back to his teens was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison, over the objections of the victim.
Darzell Burns was indicted by an Allen County grand jury in April on charges of aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony, and burglary, a second-degree felony. Both charges included a specification labeling Burns as a repeat violent offender.
In June, Burns accepted a deal from prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to the aggravated burglary charge in exchange for the dismissal of all remaining charges, including the repeat violent offender specifications.
The indictment states that on or about March 5 of this year Burns assaulted and/or threatened to inflict physical harm on his long-time girlfriend, Tywona Bevis, during the commission of a burglary.
Bevis addressed the court during Thursday’s hearing, telling Judge Jeffrey Reed that the man she had known for more than 23 years “has a big heart … and has been wonderful mentor to my kids.”
Bevis told the judge that she was the aggressor during what was little more than a domestic violence situation and that she and Burns “have worked things out.”
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Destiny Caldwell confirmed that Bevis wanted the charges dismissed and that the victim had declined to cooperate with prosecutors throughout the case.
“But sometimes it’s our job to protect people from themselves and to protect the public,” Caldwell told the judge.
Defense attorney Steve Chamberlain drew an admonishment from Reed when he suggested that police and prosecutors singled out Burns and treated him more harshly than other persons involved in domestic altercations.
Reed responded immediately, telling the defense lawyer, “I take exception to the suggestion that if this was another defendant that these charges wouldn’t have been brought forward.”
Reed then sentenced Burns to four years in prison, noting he will be eligible to apply for early release after serving six months of that sentence.