A Providence man accused of entering an apartment and threatening residents with a knife was sentenced to jail and probation on Monday.
Obten Lather, 18, was sentenced to 270 days in the Cache County Jail with no credit for time served in addition to a term of probation. In July, Lather pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary — amended from a first-degree felony — and two counts of third-degree aggravated assault. Lather has been held in jail since May 20.
During the sentencing hearing, Cache County prosecutor Griffin Hazard said the court should consider Lather’s age but argued he be sent to prison. Hazard said Lather had numerous encounters with law enforcement as a juvenile that concerned the state. In this case, Hazard explained Lather approached inhabitants of an apartment who he believed had “snitched.” Hazard said Lather struck one person when they opened the door and threatened them with a knife; a second person, who was asleep, was also threatened by Lather with the knife.
“The state believes he is a risk to society,” Hazard said, with prison being the way to mitigate that risk.
Defense attorney Mike McGinnis told the court an “immature and pliable” Lather would only be negatively affected by prison. McGinnis said Lather is currently on juvenile probation and was on probation during the incident.
“I understand why they made a prison recommendation,” McGinnis told the court. “I think sending him to prison will do more harm.”
A juvenile probation officer who worked with Lather told the court Lather could perform well on probation if he were to steer clear of controlled substances. The officer said Lather did well in secure care as a juvenile, with one exception of using the internet to search gang related material.
“(Lather) did an exceptional job,” the officer said.
Lather addressed the court and apologized for the incident and to the victims. Lather told the court this was not the life he wanted for himself, that he desired to be a productive member of society and asked not to be sent to prison.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck said she was aware of Lather’s juvenile history since she had been his judge in the juvenile court. Fonnesbeck told Lather that if he violated any probation conditions, she would then send him to prison.
“You’ve been given a lot of opportunities as a juvenile,” Fonnesbeck said, but not as an adult considering this is his first adult offense. “I’m not going to send an 18-year-old to prison today.”
On May 10, North Park Police Department officers responded to a report of a man, later identified as Lather, who threatened inhabitants of an apartment with a 3-inch steak knife. Police had arrested three men at the apartment earlier that evening, and documents filed with the court state Lather asked the victims about the prior arrest and dropped the knife by the front door before leaving.
McGinnis said Lather had been drinking at the residence nearly three hours prior and was heavily intoxicated during the incident. According to McGinnis, Lather didn’t know the victims outside of drinking with them that evening.