by Heather Tomlinson
Three men arrested in connection with a January home invasion pleaded guilty to related charges in court this week.
Aaron N. Tungate, 29, of Country Lane, Somerset, Victor M. Frantz, 27, of Reddish Street, Ferguson, and Richard Shannon Patrick, 40, of Losey Street, Somerset, appeared in court Friday before Pulaski Circuit Court Judge David A. Tapp.
The three men were arrested Tuesday, Jan. 28 in connection with a violent home invasion on Glade Fork Road in the far northern part of the county. The victims reported that three suspects forced their way into the home armed with a bat and knife, and an altercation ensued that caused a weapon to discharge into the wall of the home.
On Friday, Tungate, Frantz, and Patrick each pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary, second-degree robbery and theft of a firearm.
According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Dalton, the three gave statements in court Friday that suggested the incident was a result of a “drug deal gone bad.”
“All three acknowledged that in essence they were there to collect on a drug debt,” said Dalton.
Dalton said they confirmed that the door of the home was kicked in, and one of the victims pulled a gun, which discharged during the struggle. That weapon was taken by one of the defendants during the incident, according to Dalton.
A fourth person was initially arrested after the incident, but after he continued to maintain his innocence and provided investigators with witnesses who could account for his whereabouts that night, he was released.
Dalton said he recommended that Tungate and Frantz be sentenced to 10 years in prison, to be probated for five years — meaning they will enter into the parole program and will be sentenced back to prison for the full 10-year sentence should they fail to meet the requirements for the program.
Dalton said he recommended that Patrick be sentenced to 15 years in prison, to be probated for five years.
Dalton also said investigators with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department “was in agreement with the plea deals.”
The three defendants’ cases were resolved through the Rocket Docket program.
Sentencing has been set for March 21, 2014.