Doing a ‘life sentence on an installment plan’

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

“The accused is doing a life sentence on the installment plan.” 
This is how Crown attorney David Rows describes the path of Devin Pullman. The 46 year-old Sarnia man was in court on July 2 pleading guilty to 10 charges committed over nine months.
Pullman has 23 property related convictions alone since 2013, along with numerous bail breaches. 
The most recent charges stem from Pullman’s frequent theft of heavy metals at a local Hydro One property. Pullman was convicted of breaking into the company’s Sarnia compound in May 2018.
In September 2019 he was busted breaking into the same compound in the middle of the night. Police arrested Pullman as he attempted to steal a pair of 50-pound boxes of brass fittings. 
Pullman would go on to be arrested three times for breaking the curfew rules of his bail. This included a 10 day stretch in June where Pullman was spotted breaking curfew by the same Sarnia Police officer.
Both times Pullman attempted to flee on his bicycle. He escaped the first time, but in the second encounter the officer was able to corner and arrest him in the parking lot of a car dealership. 
In addition to the Hydro One thefts and bail breaches, Pullman plead guilty to multiple charges of resisting arrest and having break and enter tools. 
“It’s getting to the point… where we’re focusing more on separating the accused from society than on the rehabilitative aspects,” says Rows, though he did acknowledge that there is hope for everyone.
Rows and the Crown asked for a nine month sentence to cover all of the charges. 
“He is not a good candidate for probation at this point, given his inability or unwillingness to comply with terms of release,” Rows says. 
“Drugs destroyed his life,” says Pullman’s defense lawyer Terry Brandon, specifically crystal meth.
“It destroyed his career, his housing stability, friendships and relationships.”
Brandon asked for a seven month total sentence. She requested it be served at the Southwest Detention Centre in Windsor, which offers substance abuse programs that the Sarnia Jail does not. 
“He might be able to use his time in custody wisely to try to get some programming and courses, and also a period of sobriety while he’s incarcerated so that he can think more clearly,” says Brandon. 
“He doesn’t want to continue to live this lifestyle but… he continues to do so and he needs education and training and quite frankly a way to change his thinking.”
Justice Krista Leszczynski sided with the Crown on sentence length, noting Pullman’s lengthy criminal record.
“Those offenses and the repeated nature of them demonstrate to me that one of the primary goals in sentencing you today… is denunciation and deterrence. And as Mr. Rows had indicated, separating you from society,” Leszczynski says. “Because you clearly haven’t received the treatment that you need, and you are continuing to commit offenses when you are not in custody.”
Leszczynski said she would recommend Pullman serve his nine month sentence in Windsor, but that it will ultimately be up to the correctional system where he does his time.
“This is an opportunity for you to receive some substance abuse assistance. For your sake sir, I hope you get that opportunity and you take advantage of it.”