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Nitchals sentenced to five years prison for burglary

Jonathan Nitchals' past and present were heavily discussed Friday during a sentencing hearing in Pierce County Circuit Court.

"He has no high school diploma, he's been truant and has no employment history," said Pierce County District Attorney John O'Boyle. "To be frank, he has nothing going for him at age 22. It's not a shock he's committed multiple felonies."

Nitchals has been incarcerated in Pepin County Jail for about a year on multiple charges. During that time, his present was discussed.

"Jon has become a different person," said Larry Sann, who handles jail ministry for Pepin County. "He has made the decision to accept Jesus Christ. He wants to go to jail to get help. He wants to give back what he took away."

Said Nitchals: "I know I need prison. I know I need treatment. I'm not looking at it as how fast I can get out of there. I need help."

Pepin-Buffalo Circuit Court Judge James Duvall then addressed his future.

"It's about you in the future," he told Nitchals. "It all comes down to you. It's time to change. It's a challenge to you and I believe you can.

"This isn't about your parents, it's about you. Grow up."

Before that, Duvall sentenced Nitchals to five years prison for two counts of burglary and two years for bail jumping. Once his prison time is over, Nitchals will be on a combination of extended supervision/probation for the next five years.

Nitchals was originally charged in Pierce County with five counts of misdemeanor theft, four counts of entry into a locked vehicle, criminal damage to property, three counts of burglary and one count of methamphetamine possession. The burglary and the meth possession were the only felony charges.

All those charges came from a 15-day span in March occurring in the City of River Falls. He was on probation during that time for the bail jumping charge.

Then in August, it was agreed two St. Croix County charges of burglary would be consolidated into the Pierce County case. He was originally charged there with three counts of burglary, one felony theft and nine misdemeanors.

"His entire family has been involved with the criminal system," O'Boyle said. He added the only hope was the crimes he committed weren't assault and non-residential homes.

"I don't think probation is going to work at 22," O'Boyle continued. "I don't think he understands the seriousness of the offenses."

Nitchals' attorney Brian Smestad tried to explain his past.

"His family life has led to his drug use," said Smestad. "It's clear that he is a drug addict. He's been using drugs since he was 10-years-old. It's not excusing what he's done, it's offering a glimmer of what's he done.

"He knew he was going to prison from day one. He sees this as a relief because everywhere else has been a dead end."

Before handing down the sentence, Duvall explained to Nitchals the challenges he's facing.

"Predictors of success are education, employment and substance abuse," Duvall said. "Those are all negative now, but you're going to have rise above it."

The judge also challenged Nitchals to be a father as well.

"What type of parent do you want to be to your child?" he asked. "Because if you're spending your money on methamphetamine; you're not spending it on your child."

Some of the conditions of his probation include no possession of alcohol, no possession or use of controlled substances without a prescription, pay all court-ordered child support, pay court costs, provide DNA sample and pay surcharge and no entrance into bars, without probation agent approval.

O'Boyle indicated afterward the question will be for Nitchals after he is released because if he violates his probation, he's looking at approximately 40 years prison.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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