A Bloomington man with an extensive criminal record was sentenced to 14 years in prison Monday for a break-in and burglary that took place last May.
William DeWayne Booker, 45, was convicted of burglary, theft where the defendant has a prior conviction and being a habitual offender in a February jury trial in Monroe County Circuit Court.
Booker’s criminal history stretches back to 1990 and includes several felonies, including theft, burglary, domestic battery and voyeurism.
About 11:30 p.m. May 10, 2016, police were called to a house on North Jefferson Street where a burglary in progress had been reported. The woman who owned the house was not home at the time but saw the break-in on a video stream from her security system. When police arrived on the scene, they saw Booker walking out of the backyard with his arms full of stolen goods from the house.
When an officer shined a flashlight on Booker, he sprinted off into the night. Officers dispatched a canine unit, which found Booker hiding behind a nearby house a few minutes later.
In interviews with police, Booker admitted to breaking into the house through a window. Among the items Booker stole were several men’s watches, a pair of headphones and loose change inside a cigar box, according to court records. The total retail value of the items was less than $100, according to testimony during the jury trial.
During his sentencing hearing Monday afternoon, Booker wore thick-rimmed glasses, his hair grown longer into a grey-flecked afro. When he entered the courtroom, he grinned and waved at his older sister.
He asked to address the judge directly and said he wanted to apologize. He said he knew he had no one to blame but himself for what he had done.
Booker explained that his criminal record began when he was a young man, left in charge of his younger brother. He started selling drugs to make money, he said, and then became addicted to his own product.
“Through my addictive phase, I didn’t care about anything but the drugs,” Booker said.
More misfortune followed for Booker. He got clean and had a girlfriend who was pregnant with his son, but then the child died shortly after he was born. He became depressed and started using again and got into more trouble with the law.
Prosecutors pointed out during the hearing that the only stretches where Booker went for an extended length of time without committing a crime in the past 15 years were when he was incarcerated.
At the time of his most recent burglary, Booker said he had lost his job and was strapped for cash. He’d gotten a notice saying his power was about to be shut off due to unpaid bills.
He went to his sister and told her about his situation and said he told her of thinking about committing a crime because he didn’t see another way out.
“She begged me not to do it,” Booker said.
Sniffling, Booker said he knew he had no one to blame but himself. One of the bailiffs handed Booker a tissue, and he dabbed at his eyes.
“I was hoping the victim would be here today,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to apologize for what I did to her. I wouldn’t want that happening to anyone in my family or to me.”
As Judge Kenneth Todd delivered Booker’s sentence, he said he understood Booker had come from many disadvantages but said that did not excuse his behavior.
“Life doesn’t deal us all equal hands,” Todd said. “But this hand you dealt yourself, Mr. Booker.”