The verdict came after the Criminal Court jury heard Mandrell Sanders, 35, testify that he broke into the home in hopes of finding money or valuables so he could obtain drugs. He said he did not want to bother his mother by asking for money.
Sanders, who has five prior felony convictions, faces 10 to 15 years in prison for aggravated burglary when he is sentenced April 21 by Judge Lee Coffee. The defendant is considered a persistent offender under the law and would have to serve at least 45 percent of his sentence before he can be considered for parole.
The incident occurred shortly before noon on Jan. 15 last year in the 1100 block of Fountain Court at a home near the one Sanders lived in with his mother. Sanders, who represented himself, told jurors that he turned on his scanner to monitor police, walked up the alley and jumped the neighbor’s backyard fence. Sanders then bent a screen, pushed a window up and entered the home, only to find no valuables.
He left the same way, jumped the fence and stood in the alley a moment before deciding to search the home one more time. Sanders said he climbed back inside, but that while looking around again he heard on his scanner that police were being dispatched to the Fountain Court address.Sanders jumped back out of the window and ran toward his home across the street where he saw his mother unloading groceries with another woman. He picked up a case of bottle water on the porch and ran inside the house, but a neighbor who called police told his mother to call Sanders back outside.
Sanders admitted breaking into the neighbor’s home and was placed under arrest. He told police he knew that morning that he might get caught so he put a bible in his pocket so he would have something to read when he got to jail.
The case was handled by Asst. Dist. Atty. Stacy McEndree and by third-year law student Austin Nichols.
McEndree is a member of the DA’s Special Prosecution Unit which handles repeat felony offenders and seeks maximum sentences upon conviction.