A Greenwood jury only had to deliberate for 23 minutes before finding a Greenwood man guilty of metal theft Wednesday morning at the Greenwood County Courthouse.
Jovan A. Mitchell, 26, of 345 Mineral Ave., was convicted of grand larceny and sentenced to prison, according to a news statement issued by the 8th Circuit Solicitor's Office late Wednesday afternoon.
The conviction came at the end of a two-day trial at the courthouse, and jurors needed relatively little time to discern the defendant's guilt. Following the verdict, Circuit Court Judge Donald B. Hocker sentenced Mitchell to a 5-year prison sentence, suspended to 18 months behind bars, two years of probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 restitution fee to the victim.
The conviction stemmed from an incident March 24, 2010, during which Mitchell was arrested by Greenwood police after being found on the victim's property loading metal into his vehicle. He later admitted to taking metal from the location several times and selling it in the days leading up to his arrest. Receipts from local scrap yards confirmed Mitchell sold more than 10,000 pounds of metal during that time frame, the release indicated.
Prosecutors Cam Morrow and Shannon Odom handled the case for the state and argued Mitchell be subject to a 10-year prison term under enhanced provisions of the property crimes laws.
Afterward, 8th Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo praised the work of the Greenwood Police department in securing the arrest leading to Mitchell's conviction, particularly GPD investigator Jeff Crisp.
"Metal theft crimes have become an epidemic in our state over the past several years, Stumbo said. "Hopefully, Jovan Mitchell is an example to others that this type of criminal activity does not pay and will land you behind bars when caught by law enforcement."