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Three men in prison for violating probation

By JORGE SANCHEZ
Published June 20, 2006


INVERNESS - Three men were sentenced to prison Monday for probation violations.

Brian Lee Edgette, 25, who was held in the county jail since his arrest in May, entered an open admission to his violation of probation charge. Court records say he was on probation for trying to get a false prescription filled.

An open plea means the defendant forgoes a jury trial and does not have a plea bargain with prosecutors. Sentencing is left to the judge.

Circuit Judge Ric Howard let Edgette know early in the proceeding that his hopes for a second chance were gone.

Edgette tried to cheat on a drug test by bringing clean urine inside a condom to the probation office, court officials said. That was three days after Howard had put him back on probation after a positive drug test.

Trying to cheat on the test "was the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life,'' Edgette told the judge.

Wiping tears with a tissue and at times sobbing heavily, Edgette pleaded for mercy.

"I realize how much I've hurt people I loved,'' Edgette said. "If you could just give me another chance.''

To which Howard replied: "This court has already bent over backward for you.''

Edgette was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

He received the sentence with shock, crying out, "Oh, no!'

Anthony Vega, 23, was sentenced to five years in prison for a string of violations that started with lying to the judge.

A customary condition of probation is that the defendant must not be arrested while on probation.

Prosecutors said Vega appeared before Howard in November after being arrested on a charge of retail theft in Brooksville. He told the judge that he was not the man who was arrested.

Prosecutors said Wal-Mart security cameras, fingerprints and booking mugs from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office proved otherwise. They charged him with perjury.

"It was either him or his exact double,'' prosecutor Bill Catto said.

Nancy Eck, 23, who told the court that she was Vega's wife, begged for leniency. She held their baby in her arms.

"Our son will be in kindergarten before he gets out of prison,'' Eck said. "He just did something very stupid while I was five months pregnant. Please give him another chance.''

Howard was not swayed and sentenced Vega to five years in prison on the probation violation, plus 30 months concurrent for perjury.

David Michael Pierson was sentenced to 24 months in prison for violation of probation. His original charge was failure to comply with sex offender reporting requirements.

Pierson moved without notifying his parole officer; for that, he was placed on probation. He violated probation by testing positive for marijuana during a drug test, court records show.