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Worthington man who left his own trial sentenced for burglary

WORTHINGTON -- A 24-year-old Worthington man found guilty of entering an occupied dwelling and stealing property was sentenced Tuesday to 54 months in prison for first-degree burglary.

Marlon Sands will serve 36 months in prison and be on supervised release for 18 months.

The sentencing range for the crime was 39 to 54 months, with probation recommending a presumptive sentence of 45 months, but Assistant Nobles County Attorney Travis Smith argued successfully that Sands' prior criminal history and his decision to leave his own trial justified the higher end of the sentence.

Sands went on trial in August for first-degree burglary, receiving stolen property and fleeing a peace officer. During the trial, after the state had already presented six witnesses, Sands tried to fire his attorney. He was told by Judge Timothy Connell he would not be allowed to get a new attorney and resume the trial at a later date. His only options, Connell said, were to represent himself or stick with his attorney.

Apparently those options didn't appeal to Sands, who chose instead to bow out of the proceedings. When the judge, jury and attorneys returned to the courtroom after a break, Sands was missing. The jury later delivered a verdict of guilty on all counts, not knowing Sands had bolted and a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

He was picked up in Yellow Medicine County three months later.

A case in which he and several others allegedly drove to a business to break into a safe and ended up stealing a vehicle to transport the safe to another location is still pending.