Armed robber sent for drug treatment

Probation was reinstated Tuesday for an 18-year-old man who admitted trying to rob a casino patron at knifepoint in March.

Probation for Michael Ray, 18, had been revoked less than three weeks after he was sentenced because he tested positive for drugs. At a July 24 probation hearing, he told Judge Michael Fondi that a drug treatment program might put him on the right track.

At Tuesday's hearing, Fondi allowed the drug treatment program to be incorporated into Ray's probation agreement. He will be released to a program sponsored by the Salvation Army.

Ray was first sentenced June 26 on a charge of attempted armed robbery. He admitted pulling a knife on Richard Dimarzo, 63, in the Carson Nugget parking lot. Dimarzo foiled Ray's attempt by hitting Ray, who ran from the scene.

Minutes after the robbery was reported, Ray was picked up in a parking lot outside the Hardman House three blocks north. A knife was found in a nearby planter.

If Ray fails to meet the terms of the amended probation agreement, he could serve a sentence of 16 to 72 months in prison.

During his revocation hearing, Ray's mother Carol Murrell testified she would improve his living situation to better accommodate his probationary status. Officers arrested Ray when they stopped at his mother's home and found a known felon inside. The terms of his probation prohibit him from associating with felons.

When Ray was taken into custody, he tested positive for the drug use.

At the hearing, Ray conceded that he had relapsed into drug use, but claimed he had not known that the man was at the home. He said he was out of the house that morning and when he came back the man was inside.

Murrell said she let the man inside to use the shower before he had to go to work. She also said Ray's drug use does not mean he won't succeed in shaking the habit.

"I don't want to say it is a common thing, but it is not unusual to backslide after getting out of rehab," she said.


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