Jestila receives jail sentence of one year

HOUGHTON – The former owner of Backroom Multi-entertainment in Houghton was sentenced to a year in jail Monday for providing marijuana to minors in January.

Michael Jestila, 47, of Houghton, pleaded guilty last month to four counts of providing a controlled substance to a minor, an eight-year felony. At his plea hearing, he said he had given a cousin marijuana at his home in January.

Prosecutor Michael Makinen said the parents of the boys there had asked for the maximum sentence.

“Jestila is an adult who should know better not to be giving minors drugs,'” he read. “That’s been expressed to me by more than one individual involved in this.”

Makinen also said he was struck by a 50-page letter from Jestila in the pre-sentence report that he characterized as addressing various slights against Jestila by Makinen, employees, Jestila’s brother and law enforcement. But Jestila hadn’t accepted responsibility for his own actions, Makinen said.

“This is not a case that should be dealt with at the bottom of the guidelines when we have no reason to believe there is a concept of any wrongdoing on his part, any concept he’s not going to do this again,” he said. “His crime was committed when he was on a bond from one of the charges that’s being dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement.”

Jestila, however, said he acknowledges his guilt.

“I wouldn’t have agreed to my plea bargain if I didn’t realize I was guilty,” he said.

Two of the boys had witnessed a Christmas break-in at the store and were helping him retrieve the image from his security camera, Jestila said.

Jestila said once he is released, he plans to retire at his mother’s house in L’Anse.

Several charges were dismissed in exchange for the guilty pleas, including the 20-year felony of possession of 50 to 449 grams of cocaine, heroin or other narcotics. Jestila also had to forfeit the Backroom building to Houghton, and can no longer do business within the county.

He also forfeited personal property in the building.

Those charges date back to December 2011, when police said packets of materials seized in a search at Backroom tested positive for chemicals commonly contained in bath salts, as well as hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The plea agreement also stipulated Jestila would serve only county jail time.

Jestila said his sentence was “very appropriate,” but asked his sentencing be delayed so he could finish taxes.

He asked to have access to computers seized by police and other records.

“I can’t really do that from inside the jail,” he said. “I don’t mind giving up Christmas, and Thanksgiving and New Year’s and serving time then instead of right now, because all that stuff is going to be gone by winter, and my mother’s not able to remove all the property that’s in the building.”

Goodman denied the request.

Jestila received credit for 114 days served.