by Kate Shunney
A Rio man with a lengthy criminal record in Morgan County pled guilty last week to a 2018 burglary in Great Cacapon and waived possibility of parole for the offense.
Kevin R. Cain, 45, admitted in Morgan County Circuit Court that he broke into a home on Woodmont Road last August and stole a safe from the residence.
The safe contained a large amount of gold and precious gem jewelry, which he instructed an accomplice to pawn.
A restitution hearing will set the amount of money that Cain will have to pay back to the owner of the jewelry, but court officials estimated the items were worth more than $20,000.
Special Officer T.J. Johnson and Capt. Tim Stapleton of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department investigated the break-in last summer, and were able to identify a pawn shop in Hagerstown where a Paw Paw associate of Cain’s had sold some of the jewelry. The police investigation also used jail phone calls between Cain and several people to establish the facts of the case.
James said Cain knew of the home because he had helped the daughter of the owner move out of the residence several weeks earlier in the summer.
Cain, wearing a waist and wrist shackles in court, was calm as he changed his plea to guilty.
When Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin gave Cain a final opportunity to go to trial rather than plead guilty, Cain replied that he wanted the plea to avoid being classified as a recidivist.
Had the case gone to trial and Cain was found guilty, Prosecutor Dan James said he would have taken action to classify Cain as a repeat offender for sentencing purposes. Under state law, a repeat offender with three felony convictions can be sentenced to life in prison upon conviction of a further felony.
James told Judge McLaughlin that his plea offer to Cain included the agreement that Cain waive his right to seek parole from the prison sentence.
Cain was scheduled to go on trial for the burglary and grand larceny on Wednesday, April 24, but pled guilty on Tuesday afternoon.
The plea deal last week also allowed Cain to avoid prosecution for an unrelated 2019 charge of possession of a stolen vehicle. That charge was dropped as part of the deal, as was the grand larceny charge related to the jewelry thefts.
Cain was sentenced immediately after pleading guilty to the felony charge.
He chose not to address the court before sentencing.
“Quite frankly, 1 to 15 is not enough, given his criminal background,” said Prosecutor Dan James, prior to sentencing.
Cain was convicted in 2010 in Morgan County of felony failure to pay child support. He had a 1999 conviction for the felony of attempted unlawful wounding, and a 2001 conviction for breaking and entering locally. Prosecutor James outlined several other convictions from other jurisdictions.
Judge McLaughlin sentenced Cain to 1-15 years in the state penitentiary for burglary and emphasized that he will not be eligible for parole under the plea agreement.
James said that means Cain will have to serve at least seven years of his prison term.