July 17, 2012 | 03:30 PMELKHORN — Walworth County Deputy District Joshua Grube said it was a close case. One where the line between probation and prison was razor thin.
The case involved a 22-year-old woman who broke into a home where several firearms were stolen and traded for heroin in Chicago.
"I can say, however, that this offense is a very grave one," Grube said. "And I believe she is just missing prison."
Grube recommended a probation sentence, as did defense attorney Monika Schmieden.
However, Judge John Race, who isn't bound by either Grube's or Schmieden's sentencing requests, considered ignoring the recommendation and sending Alexandria Michelle Kitral, 114 Howard St., Walworth, to prison.
"This is a close case between significant imprisonment and probation," Race said.
Ultimately, Kitral avoided prison and received a three-year probation sentence. As a condition of her probation, Kitral will serve six months in the county jail with work-release privileges.
Kitral pleaded guilty April 30 to a felony burglary charge. Five felony counts of theft were dismissed but read into the record.
"There is no excuse for my behavior. I was hanging out with the wrong people and I was on the wrong path," Kitral said. "And I was blinded by my drug addiction."
On Feb. 19, 2011, Kitral was involved in a burglary at a Williams Bay residence. Cash, jewelry and multiple firearms were stolen from the home.
When interviewed by presentence investigator — an official with the Department of Corrections who writes a report on the Crime, the defendant and recommends a sentence — Kitral minimized her involvement with the burglary and gun theft.
Grube expressed concerns that Kitral told the presentence investigator that she didn't know guns were involved in the burglary. However text messages between Kitral and Bradley Jones, 24, indicate that Kitral knew about the firearms.
Grube told Race that Jones has not been charged in connection with the burglary at the Williams Bay residence, "at this time." However, in Walworth County, Jones faces two other felony cases, one for burglary and one for drugs. Jones is currently confined in Illinois.
Schmieden said that after Kitral's arrest she enlisted herself into a drug-treatment program.
Kitral's spiral into heroin addiction began after a car accident. She was prescribed a powerful pain-killing medication, became addicted, fell into the wrong crowd and turned to heroin.
However, Schmieden said her client has been free from drugs for more than a year, and is doing well.
"If she is correct that she is clean and has been clean for a year, that is terrific," Grube said. "I wish her all the best in staying clean."
Schmieden said Kitral has struggled to find work, but has turned to healthy hobbies including hula-hooping. According to www.hooping.org, Kitral was nominated as Newbie Hooper of the Year.
Schmieden said Kitral may receive a teaching certificate to became a hula-hoop instructor.
"I have been living my life healthy and clean these days," Kitral said. "The guilty and soul-crushing regret is something I will always have to live with."
Another factor that played into the sentencing was Kitral's past criminal record.
Kitral's criminal record includes misdemeanor convictions for battery and possession of marijuana. She also was convicted in 2008 of delivering marijuana.
"It's tragic that a woman 22 years of age comes before the court with this record," Race said.
As Race weighed whether to send Kitral to prison or place her on probation, he said the theft of the firearms made the burglary a more serious offense.
"Who knows where they are, who will use them and who the victims will be," Race said. "There surely will be victims."