Man involved in ‘skunk spray burglaries’ sentenced in 5th District Court

Composite image. Background of 5th District Courthouse, St. George, Utah. Inset booking photo of Brayden Brooks, 30, of St. George, Feb. 4, 2019 | Booking photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man involved in several burglaries who reportedly marked the places he’d been with skunk spray was sentenced for his crimes Wednesday.

Brayden Brooks, 30, appeared in 5th District Court for sentencing on the second-degree charge of felony burglary of a dwelling after he was arrested Feb. 4 for trespassing and burglarizing homes and cars. One victim whose vehicle was burglarized reported that skunk spray had been sprayed inside the vehicle. Another homeowner in the area reported that skunk spray had been sprayed inside his house by the back door.

Brooks said that he had marked the areas that he had been to with the skunk spray in order for police to find him, and that he had covered himself with the spray as well to protect himself, according to police.

Read more: Man arrested after burglarizing homes, cars, leaving a trail of skunk spray in his wake

As part of the plea agreement, 12 charges were dismissed, including third-degree felony of unlawful acquisition of a financial transaction charge and seven class A misdemeanors for two counts of criminal trespass, two counts of theft, unlawful possession of another’s identification documents, burglary of a vehicle and failure to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer.

Brayden Brooks, 30, of St. George booking photo taken in Washington County Feb. 4, 2019 | File photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Four class B misdemeanors for two counts of criminal mischief, interference with an arresting officer and possession of drug paraphernalia were also dismissed, and in an unrelated case, one count of possession of a controlled substance within a correctional facility was also dismissed.

The recommendations included in the presentence report submitted to the court proposed 48 months of probation and 300 days in jail, with credit of 84 days for time served.

Prosecutor Mark Barlow said those recommendations should be followed, adding the defendant has been given multiple opportunities to participate in substance abuse and other alternative treatment programs in prior cases, which he has failed to do successfully. Instead, he continues to commit new crimes, Barlow said, “and we end up right back here in court.”

Brooks’ attorney, Ed Flint, countered by saying his client should not be judged on past mistakes, adding that it is similar to beating a dog for what they did six months ago.

Flint also said his client is making great progress and has so far done very well while in treatment at Lions Gate Recovery, where he completed a 30-day residential treatment program and is now in outpatient treatment. Flint added that Brooks is drug tested regularly, and all tests have been negative for any alcohol or drugs.

Flint agreed on the recommendation of 48 months of supervised probation but said the 300-day jail sentence would only hinder his client’s progress in treatment, adding “he is doing so well.” Flint instead suggested that he receive 60 days over 30 weekends.

A representative from Lions Gate confirmed with the court that Brooks is scheduled to continue the outpatient portion of treatment until the middle of August. A small crowd of a dozen or more individuals from the treatment facility were in the courtroom to support the defendant, who also addressed the court.

Brooks said he is willing to do “whatever this court wants me to do.” He acknowledged his actions and said he is responsible for the crimes but added that he would have never committed them if he was clean and sober.

“I know my crimes were very serious,” he said.

Judge Westfall ultimately followed the presentence report recommendations and ordered Brooks to serve 300 days in jail and placed him on 48 months of supervised probation. Brooks was also ordered to write an apology letter to the victims as well as the corrections officers at the jail and pay a $500 fine.

According to the ruling, 35 days spent in residential treatment would be credited to Brooks’ jail term, along with the 86 days he has already served.

Westfall then set the case over for six weeks to allow the defendant to continue in treatment and to evaluate his progress. During the hearing set for Sept. 18 the jail sentence would addressed.

The judge also said that a majority of the property was returned to the victims, and while there was mention of a problem with a skunk smell from the victims, “there does not appear to be restitution for that.” No restitution was ordered in the case.


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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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