WORTHINGTON - Virgilio Cerda, 22, was sentenced Tuesday morning for the January 2017 burglaries of downtown businesses Buffalo Billfold and Adorn 1024 after pleading guilty to third-degree felony burglary and felony theft charges.
Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore explained that during the plea hearing, Cerda pled guilty to two offenses and made a plea agreement for a stayed prison term of 12 months and one day. Since then, the presentence investigation revealed a previous criminal offense of second-degree drug possession in Pennington County, South Dakota in May 2018.
Cerda’s criminal history score, then, indicates a sentence of 15 months rather than the original 12 months and one day. Accordingly, Moore asked Cerda if he would revise his plea agreement to 15 months.
Cerda said he would revise his plea agreement, but he said the South Dakota offense was actually for third-degree possession. Moore agreed to have the probation officer review the PSI again. but wanted to proceed with a sentence of 15 months.
Cerda was initially charged with three additional offenses that were dismissed during the plea hearing. Moore ordered a stay of execution and sentenced Cerda to five years of supervised probation.
Under the terms of probation, Cerda was ordered to serve 120 days in Nobles County Jail, 80 of which he has already completed for a previous offense, to be completed concurrently. During the probation period, Cerda must pay an $82 easement and complete 150 hours of community work service, as well as have no contact with the businesses or business owners he is convicted of burglarizing. He must comply with the chemical dependency evaluation, and abstain from alcohol and unprescribed drugs.
Additionally, Cerda must pay $3,500 in restitution to one victim, and the state has 30 days to investigate appropriate restitution to other victims.
During his statement, Cerda expressed remorse for his crimes.
“I’m going to be a better man,” he said. He added that his request for help with chemical dependency is a big step for him that indicates personal growth.
Moore challenged Cerda to live up to his desire to change, suggesting productive uses of time such as work and college.
“You are fundamentally what your actions speak to,” said Moore, adding that Cerda is capable of change if he is willing to work for it.
In addition to help with chemical dependency, Cerda expressed interest in pursuing mental health treatment. He indicated that he does not get a lot of support from home, and that lack of encouragement has contributed to his substance abuse and criminal activity.