Man with long criminal history sent to prison for break-in spree.

August 14, 2018


Man with long criminal history sent to prison for break-in spree.


By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

LUDINGTON — A 34-year-old Fountain man who went on a crime spree with an accomplice last March, breaking into cabins in the Tallman Lake area of Branch Township, was sentenced to seven to 50 years in prison for three convictions of second-degree home invasion Tuesday, Aug. 14, in 51st Circuit Court.

Lee Hamilton Colby has a long criminal history including seven prior felonies and 14 previous misdemeanors, said Judge Susan K. Sniegowski. Colby was a parole absconder in New Hampshire at the time he committed the crimes with Chad Fredrick Collins.

Collins was sentenced last week to three to 15 years in prison and is eligible for Special Alternative Incarceration (SAI) or boot camp through the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Both men were initially facing eight felony charges, including first-degree home invasion, four counts of second-degree home invasion, felony firearm, breaking and entering a building with intent and possession of burglary tools.

They were armed when they broke into the cabins, stealing electronics and several other items. Deputies recovered nearly 50 pieces of stolen property, including TVs, power tools, propane tanks, grills, yard tools, household appliances and food. They used wheelbarrows to transport the stolen items, said Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola.

Mason County sheriff’s deputies tracked their footprints from one crime scene to another, said Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, and ultimately tracked them down to one of the residences they had broken into.

“This crime has affected me in many ways,” said one of the victims during Collins’ sentencing last week. Her father’s World War II parachute bag was stolen, along with a .22 caliber rifle, her prescribed medication, and several personal papers such as her birth certificate. “My grandchildren are scared to stay there,” she said.

Restitution totaling $2,463 is joint and several with Collins.

Colby’s attorney David Glancy said his client was “no true leader in this situation” despite his lengthy criminal record.

Spaniola cited his long criminal history in New Hampshire, which includes assault, theft, forgery, dangerous weapons, drugs and resisting police. In Michigan, he has a child abuse conviction along with other crimes.

“Your Honor, I make no excuses for my actions. What I did was wrong. I am truly and sincerely sorry for that,” Colby said. He admitted that he has a long criminal history, which began shortly after he ran away from home at age 14 to escape abuse.

“Unfortunately, addiction has a horrible way of blinding a person,” he said.

“I am thankful for my incarceration — it gives me clarity.” He told the judge he wished he had learned from his “painful past” instead of using drugs.

Colby also said “the other victim” in this matter is his 2-year-old son, who will have to grow up without him because of his incarceration.

“I grew up with an incarcerated father,” he said. “It’s my job to protect him. He is my everything. Yes, I should have thought of him before I committed the crimes.

“I know I need repair,” he told the judge. “The best part of me is my relationship with my son.”

“I’ve listened with what you’ve had to say today,” Sniegowski said. “You’re not in any position to be a good example for your son right now. But, you can get there.”

Colby received credit for 157 days served in jail.

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