A Billings judge on Friday gave suspended sentences to a man for his role in a burglary ring that prosecutors have connected to convicted Lockwood methamphetamine dealer Walter White.
District Judge Ingrid Gustafson gave Jonathon Warren Walker, 29, a total of 10 years with the Department of Corrections, with all that time suspended, to run concurrently to the two-year sentence he received in federal court for two counts of possession of stolen firearms. She also ordered him to pay restitution and a $2,000 fine.
Walker previously admitted to six counts of burglary and two counts of burglary by accountability, all felonies. He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief and one misdemeanor count of criminal mischief by accountability.
In another case, he also pleaded guilty to one count of deceptive practices, common scheme, for using stolen credit cards. In a third case, Walker also pleaded guilty to felony theft for stealing a Ford F-150 pickup.
As recommended in a plea agreement, Gustafson dismissed two felony counts of deceptive practices and a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Prosecutors have said that Walker and several other drug users were involved in a burglary ring that targeted dozens of storage units at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 as a way to raise money to pay for drugs.
Prosecutors had sought a harsher punishment for Walker that would have totaled 10 years at Montana State Prison, concurrent to his federal sentence.
Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Ingrid Rosenquist said that Walker didn’t deserve an all-suspended sentence for his role in the “multifaceted crime spree.”
She said law enforcement officers have spent “numerous hours” recovering some of the more than 200 items stolen in the burglaries.
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Walker’s attorney, public defender Edward Werner, said none of his client’s offenses were violent and that most of the co-defendants charged in connection to the burglaries have been given deferred or suspended sentences.
Walker apologized for his actions and said that “this has been a blessing in disguise for me and my family” because it has pushed him to get clean of his addiction to meth.
“Mr. Walker, you need to spend the next number of years applying yourself to stay clean and sober,” Gustafson said. “I wish you the very best of luck with that. It’s up to you.”
After his arrest last year, Walker told police that he had been forced to commit the crimes because he owed money to Walter Jack White, a Lockwood meth dealer sentenced in December to 12 years in federal prison.
A judge issued a search warrant for White’s home after the man was shot in January 2013 outside his house and business on Lockwood Road. Authorities have alleged he was shot by his son, Brandon Jay Joseph White, over a disputed drug debt.
Law enforcement officers arrested Walter White in March 2013 after searching his Lockwood home.
They seized about four ounces of meth with an estimated street value of $10,000, two handguns and $15,000 in cash, according to court records.
Brandon White has pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault with a weapon, an alternative count of assault with a weapon by accountability, and one count of tampering with evidence.
He is scheduled to go to trial on March 25, according to court records.