By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - An Iron River man will be spending at least a year and a half in prison for charges stemming from a theft incident in Caspian.
Michael Dean Beauchamp, 22, was sentenced Monday in Iron County Trial Court on one felony count of resisting and obstructing a police officer and one misdemeanor count of retail fraud.
The charges stem from a Jan. 27 incident in which Beauchamp stole a case of beer and some cigarettes from the Citgo gas station in Caspian.
Beauchamp was originally charged with a felony count of unarmed robbery, but Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell decided to drop the charge when surveillance video footage of the incident showed that Beauchamp did not touch the clerk.
Powell also amended a felony count of larceny to misdemeanor retail fraud.
During sentencing, Beauchamp's attorney Geoffrey Lawrence said that the Michigan Department of Corrections' (MDOC) recommendation of one year in prison would be an appropriate sentence for his client.
Lawrence added that the recommendation is not lenient, since Beauchamp will have to serve additional time for violating his parole.
Beauchamp was on parole from the MDOC at the time he committed the resisting and obstructing and the retail fraud offenses. He spent two and a half years in prison, from February 2010 to August 2012, for charges of breaking and entering and unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle.
Powell felt that both Lawrence and the MDOC had an overly optimistic view of Beauchamp.
According to Powell, Beauchamp was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. He fought with and threatened the store patrons who detained him and the responding police officers, she added.
"He was on parole while all this is happening," said Powell. "Prison obviously had very little affect on Mr. Beauchamp."
Powell recommended a sentence of two to four years in prison.
When given a chance to speak, Beauchamp apologized.
"I realize that alcohol is a problem," he said. "I regret what I did."
Judge C. Joseph Schwedler cited Beauchamp's criminal record as a factor against him.
Beauchamp has a juvenile record and four prior felony convictions as an adult.
"I'm very much concerned whether this court has any tools left to rehabilitate Mr. Beauchamp," said Judge Schwedler. "We've exhausted all of our resources."
Judge Schwedler ordered that Beauchamp spend between one and a half to four years in prison for the resisting and obstructing charge, and 60 days in jail for the retail fraud charge.
The sentences will run concurrent to each other, but consecutive to any time that Beauchamp will serve for violating his parole.
In addition, Beauchamp must pay $50 in restitution for the costs of pulling and copying the surveillance video footage.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.