A Coeburn man faces the possibility of decades in prison after pleading guilty to a string of burglaries early this year.
Michael Jason Sluss, 26, pleaded guilty today to multiple felonies in Wise County Circuit Court, according to a press release from Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp. Sluss was found guilty of four counts of breaking and entering residences, two counts of grand larceny, possession of stolen property, possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony and probation violation.
“A person's home should be a place of peace, safety and security,” Slemp said. “Mr. Sluss took that away from the victims in this case. We are pleased that he has now been convicted of his crimes and my office will continue to seek harsh penalties for crimes like these so that the victims' peace of mind is restored.”
Evidence showed that in March, Sluss broke into multiple residences at night in the Flatwoods community, stealing property valued at more than $200 and a firearm. On at least one occasion, Sluss entered a home and attempted to enter a bedroom, waking up the sleeping residents.
Sluss was previously convicted in 2014 of a felony for distribution of a schedule III drug. He pleaded guilty to the prior charge without a plea agreement, was given a suspended sentence and was placed on probation. However, Slemp said, he did not comply with the probation officer and absconded from supervision. When police arrested Sluss on the probation violation offenses, they found stolen property at his home, including a firearm matching one that had been recently stolen from a residence in Coeburn. Sluss later confessed to the crimes.
Sluss is to be sentenced Feb. 17, 2017. He faces a total of up to 135 years (20 years for each breaking and entering charge, 20 years for each grand larceny, 10 years for possession of stolen goods and five years for possession of the firearm).
The case was prosecuted by Slemp and Senior Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Josh Newberry. Slemp credited the county sheriff’s office and the Coeburn police department for their investigation of the case.