Albert Lea Level 3 offender sentenced to more than 4 years for area burglary

Published 8:11 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

An Albert Lea Level 3 offender was sentenced to more than four years in prison Monday in Freeborn County District Court after a burglary earlier this year.

Jabar Morarend

Jabar Pedro Morarend, 46, was sentenced after a jury convicted him of second-degree burglary in June. He was given credit for 248 days served. Morarend is expected to serve nearly three years in prison, with approximately 1 1/2 years on supervised release.

Prior to sentencing, Morarend’s lawyer, Jeremy Clinefelter, requested Morarend be placed on probation — a departure from the presumptive prison sentence ranging from nearly three years in prison to more than four years in prison — noting Morarend has been accepted into a residential program to help him overcome a methamphetamine addiction.

Sandra Burdick of the recovery center said she was unsure whether the facility would accept Level 3 offenders, who are considered the most likely to re-offend.

Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Abigail Lambert said it is “unlikely” Morarend would be able to participate in the program because of regulations on Level 3 offenders. The nearest program is in Cresco, Iowa.

Morarend said he started using meth in 2016 while he was going through a divorce as a way to self-medicate.

“Little did I know that meth kind of takes over your life,” he said.

Morarend said he “defaced” his life and was “morally bankrupt” after becoming addicted to meth.

“I didn’t know who I was when I looked in the mirror,” he said.

Morarend said he was “embarrassed” his family observed him in this position.

“I’m a broken man at this point,” he said.

Lambert said Morarend’s criminal history is not based on meth use, noting he has convictions for assault and criminal sexual conduct dating back to 1990.

She noted Morarend was on probation when he committed the burglary and had not attended Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous courses. She questioned whether Morarend was trying to enter treatment to avoid being sent to prison.

Morarend expressed concern he would not be able to receive treatment in prison.

Prior to sentencing, the victim, Cheryl Christensen, said because of the burglary, she has taken safety precautions, such as installing new lighting. She has taken a gun safety course so she can own a gun for self-protection.      

Christensen said she slept on a mattress in her car for three to four months and still has trouble sleeping.

“Unless you’ve gone through it, you don’t understand what it’s like,” she said.

She said Morarend has not expressed much remorse to her.

Lambert said Morarend should receive more than four years in prison.

“This is not a typical burglary,” she said.

She noted Morarend has also been recently convicted of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and lottery fraud, adding he would be able to receive treatment in prison.

Lambert said the pre-sentence investigation found Morarend had an “unfriendly view” of law enforcement, noting she did not believe he is amenable to probation.

Clinefelter said Morarend could be held up to one year in Freeborn County jail before being sent to the Twin Cities for treatment. He said Morarend has demonstrated his amenability to probation and has been sober for the eight months he has been in jail.

Clinefelter said if the departure was not granted, Morarend should receive about three years in prison, adding there was no vandalism and no items were taken in the burglary.

Prior to sentencing, Morarend apologized to Christensen for the incident.

In refusing the departure, Leuning said he had not proved he was worthy.

“I don’t deem you to be particularly amenable to probation,” Leuning said.

Leuning noted Morarend committed the crime while on probation, adding he sees the case as “troubling” because of the “brazen nature” of the crime.

Leuning said Morarend was “remarkably uncaring” in committing the act and ignored community standards.

Court documents state Morarend was charged after officers responded in January to a report of a suspicious person and burglary in Freeborn County.

Dresser doors in a bedroom were all partially opened, and the homeowner said she did not leave them that way.

Morarend was found in the basement of the residence behind a bed sheet hanging from steps, sitting next to the washing machine.

 

See what happened over the weekend in the PM report here.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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