In a “three strikes and you’re out” decision, a Graham County jury this week first found a Robbinsville man guilty of breaking into and stealing items from a garage, then guilty of habitual felon, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.
Thanks to that sentence enhancer of habitual felon, Bryan Aaron Berryman, 52, was sentenced four classes higher than the underlying felony convictions. The jury found him guilty, in total, of five charges: • Felony breaking and entering. • Felony larceny. • Felony possession of stolen goods. • Felony conspiracy to break and enter and larceny. • Habitual felon.
“The ability to target repeat offenders is an important tool in our toolbox,” District Attorney Welch said. “It allows us to relieve communities of men and women who have chronically sticky fingers.” Superior Court Judge Jesse Caldwell sentenced Berryman to serve a minimum of 132 months in prison up to a maximum of 183 months.
In 1967, state lawmakers empowered North Carolina prosecutors to seek habitual felon status if they have evidence of at least three previous federal or state felony convictions (the so-called “three-strikes” law), prior to the defendant committing a fourth.
Assistant District Attorney Jim Moore provided jurors with evidence that proved Berryman had previous felony convictions from Gaston County.
The Graham County Sheriff’s Office filed charges against Berryman and a co-defendant on April 19, 2021. Capt. Joshua Wooten of Graham County Sheriff’s Office was the charging officer.