Aspen pharmacy burglar gets nine years in prison |

Aspen pharmacy burglar gets nine years in prison

ASPEN – A 24-year-old man’s plea for leniency could not persuade a judge from sentencing him Monday to nine years in state prison.

Daniel Grine, who was arrested at his Aspen Village residence in April for burglarizing the now-defunct Rodney’s Clinic Pharmacy in Aspen, was ordered to enter a regimental inmate training program as part of the nine-year sentence at the Colorado Department of Corrections.

If he completes the program successfully, he will be a candidate for a community corrections program in Denver and a shorter prison stint, 9th Judicial District Judge James Boyd said.

Boyd’s sentence, delivered in Pitkin County District Court, ran counter to the recommendation of Grine’s probation officer, who suggested an eight-year term at the Pier One community corrections facility in Denver, where he would be subject to an intense, two-year program before being eligible for work release.

Chief Deputy District Attorney also opposed the recommendation.

The Aspen pharmacy arrest was Grine’s fifth felony offense in the last two years, including a burglary arrest in Basalt.

“I feel extremely, extremely sad and remorseful for doing these things,” he said. “At the same time I feel I got the short end of the stick in life, but I don’t want to make [that as an] excuse.”

After breaking into the pharmacy, where he swiped some $30,000 worth of drugs and narcotics, Grine said he “was so incoherent I was throwing up blood.”

“I didn’t know how to use the drugs I had …”

The Tom’s incident punctuated a series of near-death moments, Grine said, including an overdose on Xanex and a drunken-driving accident. Grine, who was once poised to become a professional snowboarder, told Boyd he was ready to turn around a life that had been checkered by drug and alcohol abuse.

“I don’t know necessarily if I deserve to go to this place [community corrections], but hopefully I can help people like me who escape reality … but first I need to get my feet on the ground,” Grine told the judge.

Mordkin, however, argued that an eight-year term in community corrections would send a message that repeat offenders can catch legal breaks they don’t deserve.

“At some point it seems to me society says, ‘enough is enough,” Mordkin argued, while lobbying for 12 years in state prison. “You don’t pick up five felonies and get a chance to make it out in community corrections.”

While mulling over his sentence, Boyd said it was a “very difficult decision for the court,” noting that Grine’s offenses “have accumulated so quickly.” Boyd explained that drug and alcohol rehabilitation weighed in favor of a community corrections sentence for Grine, but “when I put all of the circumstances together … you have not demonstrated a commitment to getting better.”

Boyd also noted that Grine’s sentence needed to be fair and consistent with punishments the judge has meted out to other defendants with similar offenses.

Grine was given 262 days credit for the time he has served in the Pitkin County jail since his arrest.

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