Two Prattville brothers were sentenced Thursday in Autauga County Circuit Court on unrelated theft charges.
Court records show that Thomas Lee Graves, 20, was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of escape and receiving stolen property. Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds actually gave Graves five years in prison on each charge, but ordered that he serve two years behind bars, with two years on probation. If he successfully completes the probationary period, the total sentence would be shortened by a year.
Timothy R. Graves, 22, will serve two years on probation for two counts of unlawful breaking and entering of a motor vehicle, court records showed. Reynolds gave him a sentence of three years on each charge, to be served concurrently, with the sentence suspended in favor of probation, records show.
Both brothers had previously pleaded guilty to the charges.
The cases against Thomas Graves got plenty of local attention. They involved the April 2010 theft of an AR-15 rifle belonging to an off-duty Alabama State Trooper. The rifle was stolen from the trooper's personal vehicle as it was parked in front of his home in Prattville. Graves was also charged with stealing a handgun from a vehicle belonging to the trooper's father. The trooper's parents live across the street from his home.
Graves' mother, Terri Haston, charged that the district attorney's office targeted her son because the trooper is a son -- and the other victim the husband -- of a civilian employee in the district attorney's office. District Attorney Randall Houston denied that Graves was singled out, saying his office handled the case just like any other theft case.
Haston also filed a complaint with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, alleging that the state trooper beat her son up when he was arrested. An internal investigation by the state agency determined the charges against the state patrolman were "unfounded."
Graves was charged with escape after he bolted from custody as lawmen were leading him to jail. He had remained in the Autauga Metro Jail under bonds totaling $50,000 since his arrest in April of 2010, jail records show. He will get credit against the two-year sentence for the time he has served, court records show.
The way things worked out "exonerated" Graves, said Julian McPhillips, his attorney.
"The four most serious charges, two counts of theft of property and two counts of breaking an entering a motor vehicle, were dropped," McPhillips said. "He pleaded guilty to escape, which he never denied -- he did run from law enforcement -- and he pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property.
"He did go down to Montgomery with another person and sold a rifle that later was proved to have been stolen. He says he didn't know the rifle was stolen. So, with credit for time served, he's looking at about six more months to do on his sentence."
Thomas Lee Graves' co-defendant, 22-year-old Terrell Graves, pleaded guilty in December 2010 to one count each of theft of property, breaking and entering a motor vehicle and perjury in the case, court records show. In April, Reynolds ordered that Terrell Graves serve 31 months in prison.
Terrell Graves and Timothy R. Graves are twin brothers. Timothy R. Graves was sentenced in connection with breaking into vehicles, in cases that are not connected to those with which his brothers were charged. Timothy Graves' attorney, Robert Bowers of Clanton, did not return phone calls seeking comment.