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A 21-year-old man who appeared in court twice this week on three separate felony cases was sentenced to a total of 15 years to the state Department of Corrections, with 10 of those years suspended, for burglary and theft.

Tyler Gary Frisbie previously pleaded guilty to burglary and theft charges in a 2012 case and back-to-back cases from last year.

A previous plea bargain had recommended a total of 12 years suspended, but prosecutors said that Frisbie violated the terms of that agreement — in part by brewing wine while he was in a drug treatment facility — allowing them to ask for a harsher sentence.

In the 2012 case, charging documents state that Frisbie broke into a home in the 500 block of Wheatstone Drive and stole $88 and a pack of cigarettes and then ran away when confronted by a resident of the home.

On Friday, District Court Judge Ingrid Gustafson gave Frisbie a 12-year suspended sentence that will run parallel to the sentences he received Thursday in the 2013 cases.

In the 2013 cases, prosecutors accused Frisbie and another man, 34-year-old Steven Tyler Russo — who later hung himself in jail – of committing a string of robberies and thefts in the first week of June 2013.

Court records say that on the evening of June 4 the two men forced their way into a man’s residence in the 200 block of Alderson Avenue. The documents allege that Russo held the resident down and threatened him with a knife while Frisbie searched for items to steal. The men reportedly stole prescription painkillers, a cellphone and $11 cash.

Charging documents state that the next morning Russo tried to steal vehicles from at least three people before successfully stealing a pickup truck parked in the 400 block of Cook Avenue.

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With Frisbie as his passenger, Russo led police on a high-speed chase through Billings, during which he reached speeds of 50 to 60 mph and ran through controlled intersections, an affidavit states.

The pursuit was terminated “due to the dangerous nature of Russo’s driving,” court records state, but officers later found both men near State Avenue and Jackson Lane, where a foot chase ensued.

Both men were ultimately arrested, and officers reported finding a handgun that Frisbie dropped during the chase. After his arrest, Frisbie gave a false name and birth date to police.

The next day, detention officers found Russo hanging in a jail shower. He later died at Billings Clinic. A coroner's jury determined the death to be a suicide.

Frisbie later pleaded guilty to a felony count of burglary by accountability for the events of June 4. He also pleaded guilty to a felony count of theft by accountability and two misdemeanor counts of obstructing a peace officer for the events of June 5.

On Friday, Judge Gustafson said she would be happy to recommend Frisbie for a drug treatment program.

“Mr. Frisbie, I hope you can get it together,” Gustafson said. “You’re obviously very young to be spending so much time in an institution.”

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City news reporter for the Billings Gazette