A year in prison for fleeing police

HOUGHTON – A Laurium man will spend a year in jail after being sentenced for fleeing and eluding police in November.

Jaymez Riggins, 22, pleaded to third-degree fleeing and eluding police in Houghton County Circuit Court.

Dismissed in exchange were charges of larceny – $1,000-$2,000, malicious destruction of property $200-$1,000, fourth-degree fleeing a police officer, unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle and operating under the influence.

Riggins was arrested after fleeing from a break-in at Harter’s Party Store in Calumet.

Riggins, a native of Washington, said he plans to return home to get his bachelor’s degree in human services. He plans to become a drug and alcohol counselor and motivational speaker.

“I just want to say I apologize for this crime I committed,” he said. “I just want to get on with my life and be here for my daughter.”

Riggins’ attorney, David Gemignani, urged the court to consider a drug counseling program in the sentencing. If Riggins can turn his life around, he could help people, he said.

“If that could happen, that would be great,” Gemignani said. “If he could save even one person, it’d be worth it. I see too many young people dropping like flies.”

The third-degree fleeing and eluding charge is a five-year felony. State minimum sentencing guidelines were from 10 to 23 months.

Also Friday, the trial of Michael Jestila was pushed back from this month to the week of April 15.

Jestila, 47, former owner of Backroom Multi-Entertainment in Houghton, is charged with possession of 50 to 449 grams of cocaine, heroin or other narcotics, a 20-year felony, and a two-year felony possession charge.

Gemignani, who also represents Jestila, said he needed additional time because of complicated issues regarding the chemicals and packaging. He has also filed a request for discovery for the original search warrant used in the 2011 police sweep of his store. Police seized dozens of packets of materials which they say tested positive for chemicals found in bath salts, as well as hallucinogenic mushrooms.

His former attorney, Thomas Quinnell, withdrew from the case in December.

A scheduling conference will take place Jan. 20, when the four-day trial had been slated to start.

Also Friday, Philip Provost, 26, of Houghton, pleaded no contest to two counts of breaking and entering in Lake Linden stemming from an incident over the summer. The breaking and entering charges are each a 10-year felony.

Provost’s sentencing is scheduled for approximately three weeks.