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Pair of plea agreements approved

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Paul Lee Ray
An Indianapolis man arrested last summer at a local fast food restaurant for allegedly stealing a pickup truck recently appeared in court.

On Monday, Paul Lee Ray, 33, Indianapolis, and his attorney, James Organ, appeared before Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout to enter into a negotiated plea agreement with the Clay County Prosecutor's Office.

According to court documents, Ray agreed to plead guilty to one count of class C felony operating a vehicle after forfeiture of license for life in exchange the state would drop the remaining charges in the case.

The Clay County Sheriff's Department reported that an anonymous tip led officials to arresting Ray in the parking lot at Burger King on July 29, 2008.

Ray was taken into custody and transported to Clay County Justice Center, where he was booked on preliminary charges of possession of stolen property, having an unlicensed weapon and being an habitual traffic violator.

Joanna Michelle Britton, 34, Brazil, a passenger in the stolen pickup truck, was also taken into custody on an outstanding warrant for probation violation. She was later formally charged with class A misdemeanor unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle in this case. However, the state dismissed the charges against Britton in this case on Nov. 17, 2008.

After a review of the case by the Clay County Prosecutor's Office, Ray was formally charged with class C felony operating a motor vehicle after forfeiture of license for life, class D felony receiving stolen property, class A misdemeanor unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle and class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

After questioning Ray at the sentencing hearing, Trout accepted the plea agreement which sentenced Ray to the Indiana Department of Correction for a period of four years, all of which was suspended with the exception of two years. Good time credit was allowed (if earned) and Ray was credited for 202 actual days previously served.

Joanna Michelle Britton
Upon conclusion of the sentence, the court ordered Ray be placed on formal probation for two years.

Meanwhile, Clay Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers entered a conviction verdict against Britton in regard to the probation violation case on Nov. 17, 2008. A part of the plea, she was sentenced to one-and-a-half years at the Indiana Department of Correction, with good time credit allowed (if earned). The agreement suspended all but 180 days and gave Britton credit for 90 days previously served. The sentence is to run concurrent to any other sentences imposed from other cases.

Upon release, Britton will be placed on formal probation for one year.

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