Armed robber treading close to prison time

An armed robber arrested last week for a probation violation might get second chance to avoid a heavy prison sentence.

A probation revocation hearing for 18-year-old Michael Ray was delayed one week while Ray attempts to find a long-term drug treatment program for which he is a candidate. He was arrested because he tested positive for drug use.

"I don't want to say its a common thing, but it is not unusual to backslide after getting out of rehab," said his mother, Carol Murrell, who testified during the district court hearing.

Ray was given a probationary sentence June 26 after admitting to pulling a knife on 63-year-old Richard DiMarzo during a foiled March 14 attempted robbery in the Carson Nugget parking lot.

DiMarzo resisted, hitting Ray, who was picked up minutes later in the parking lot of the Hardman House two blocks north.

At the sentencing, Judge Michael Fondi countered the probation agreement with a suspended sentence of 16 to 72 months in prison. If probation is revoked at Tuesday' hearing, he will be sent to prison.

Fondi indicated that he might consider drug rehabilitation, but that if Ray was unable to find a program, the revocation would be granted.

Probation supervisors believe Ray violated two conditions of his release by doing drugs and associating with a convicted felon. During a probation check, a known felon was at Ray's mother's home, where Ray was staying, and appeared to be staying there.

On Tuesday, Ray denied that he knew the man was at the house. His mother testified that the man had come into the house to use the shower on the way to work. She promised that if Ray's bail was renewed, she would stop allowing visitors who could threaten the conditions of his probation.

Ray is being held without bail until next week's hearing.


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