A man caught during a home burglary and held at gunpoint by the homeowner until deputies arrived more than a year ago was sentenced Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.
47 year old Homer Anthony Petty, Sr. , who entered a plea in October to charges of aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000, was given a 14 year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Corrections to run consecutively with the balance of a three year sentence he is currently serving for a violation of probation in a previous drug sale conviction case. The total effective sentence is 17 years. Petty is classified as a Range 3 offender due to a history of five felony convictions and he will have to serve at least 45% of his term before becoming eligible for parole.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, October 20, 2016 a deputy responded to Old Givens Hollow Road, Liberty due to a burglary.
Upon arrival, the officer learned that the homeowner caught Petty and another person stealing items from his home. “The homeowner witnessed Petty and another person attempting to leave the residence with a Norinco SKS rifle and a head band. The victim (homeowner) recovered the rifle and held Petty at gunpoint until law enforcement officers arrived. The other person with Petty fled the scene. Other items taken in the burglary and theft were an electronic game call, a back pack, multiple turkey calls, and numerous collectible knives. Some of those were recovered.
During Monday’s sentencing hearing, the homeowner testified how that he and his family came home to find these two men in their home. After the intruders saw the family, they started to leave but Petty, still carrying the stolen rifle, was wrestled to the ground by the homeowner who then held Petty at gunpoint until officers arrived.
The homeowner further testified about the affect the incident has had on his family.
Although Petty never made an attempt to harm the family, Assistant District Attorney General Stephanie Johnson said this was a very serious offense.
“This was a very dangerous situation that this victim and his family were placed in. This family came home to find Petty and another person, that we never apprehended, in their home with his (homeowner’s) firearm. This homeowner had to wrestle that weapon away from him and hold him at gunpoint in front of his wife and children. Since then the family has had to rearrange bedrooms in their home. Their children don’t feel safe at home. They no longer go into their home unarmed when they are coming home. This kind of violence has a lasting affect on victims and their families and children in particular. This was a very serious offense,” said Johnson.
Johnson also challenged a so called “Strong-R” assessment in Petty’s pre-sentence report which found him to be a low risk offender.
“Anytime anyone is coming to court for sentencing, the Tennessee Department of Correction prepares what is called a pre-sentence report. That report has information that is supposed to be helpful to the judge in making a decision on how to sentence someone. It has prior history of the offender, criminal convictions, social history information such as how far he got in school, if he has had substance abuse problems, what kind of family ties he has, work history, etc. It contains all that information. This year TDOC has begun an assessment called Strong-R where an offender fills out a questionnaire which goes to someone in Nashville and they compile the answers to that questionnaire. Of course the defendant is self reporting these things. They take the answers on the questionnaire along with the offender’s history to compile what is called a Strong R report. Petty’s Strong R report indicated that he was a low risk offender. Thankfully the court did not consider that. The state found it absolutely ludicrous that someone would be a low risk offender with five prior felony convictions and the facts of this case being particularly dangerous in nature,” said Johnson.
Petty has two prior drug sale convictions, a prior vehicular assault conviction, a prior theft, and a prior attempted aggravated burglary conviction. These offenses occurred in DeKalb, Warren, and Wilson Counties dating back to the early 1990s.