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Mecham getting a chance to go straight
June 27, 2016
A 36-year-old Bonners Ferry man who pled guilty to a string of burglaries and thefts in 2015 and 2016, including the theft of lumber from the little white Paradise Valley Church that is being renovated, will get one chance to avoid a lengthy prison term after Judge Barbara Buchanan last week chose to retain jurisdiction.

If Ronald John Mecham, 73 Bachelor Road, can successfully serve a one-year sentence at Cottonwood, Buchanan could waive the four year fixed, six year indeterminate prison sentence she handed down and afford him the opportunity to be placed on felony probation instead.

Between August 1, 2015, and November 16, 2016, Mecham was charged by Bonners Ferry police with three counts of burglary and three counts of grand theft by possession of stolen property, and he pled guilty to breaking into a shop on Labrosse Hill Road owned by Louis Maggi, a red Chevy pickup belonging to Joseph Higgins on Highway 95 near mile 503, for possessing lumber valued at over $1,000 taken from the Paradise Valley Church, a 2006 Honda motorcycle belonging to Lawrence Drake, for taking an assortment of tools and materials belonging to Caribou Creek Log Homes, and for stealing $182 worth of groceries at Super 1 Foods.

In addition to serving a year, Mecham will have to pay $1,227.50 in costs and restitution to be determined.

During the court proceedings, Mecham's mother testified as to his medical problems and medications he was on, and she told Judge Buchanan of her son's intention to move to Tacoma, Washington to get counseling and rehabilitation.

If he can complete the rigorous program at Cottonwood, he could be afforded that chance.
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