Held on $50,000 bond, Chantilly resident Hyeong (AKA Billy) Suh, 20, has spent the past year in the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
And he's now headed for a six-month stint in a military-style detention program as punishment for burglarizing several houses, last spring, in the local area.
"He was breaking into people's homes, here in Fairfax County," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick, last Friday, during Suh's sentencing in Circuit Court. "It was an incredible breach of their privacy."
A FORMER Chantilly High student, Suh, of 3505 Nodding Pine Court, was one of three people arrested by police as suspects in a string of residential burglaries occurring between March 5 and April 16, 2003.
Four of the crimes were committed in his own community of Franklin Glen. The burglars broke into the homes and helped themselves to whatever appealed to them while the residents were either at work or out of town.
In an April 18, 2003 affidavit for a search warrant to look for some of the stolen items in Suh's home, Det. Bill Baitinger detailed the case against him. He wrote that, two mornings earlier, a man in the 12100 block of Camborne Terrace, in Legato Acres, heard glass breaking outside.
He immediately called police and said he'd seen two males breaking into his neighbor's home. They fled but, according to Baitinger, two responding officers found Suh hiding under a tree near Route 29 and Legato Road and arrested him.
Baitinger wrote that police found $300, a gold bracelet and a gold money clip on his person. The detective further stated that a witness "positively identified" Suh as one of the Camborne Terrace burglars. Police charged Suh and the others with numerous counts of burglary, grand larceny and possession of burglary tools.
In addition, the detective wrote that a gold-and-diamond ring Suh was wearing when he was apprehended was stolen, April 15, in Chantilly's Ox Hill community, while a family was away on vacation. According to Baitinger, police also discovered that Suh pawned a jigsaw and binoculars stolen March 28 — from a home on the same, Franklin Glen street on which he lives.
During an April 18 search of Suh's home, police seized a pawn receipt, as well as an Audi valet key, a U.S. capitol coin and a woman's Seiko watch — all items that the victims had reported stolen from their Chantilly homes.
SOME OF Suh's charges were later dropped, but he remained behind bars. And on Aug. 18, 2003 in Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty to three counts of breaking and entering, plus one count of eluding police. Judge Marcus Williams set his sentencing for Nov. 14, but various delays ensued until last Friday, April 9, when Suh was finally sentenced.
Since he had no adult criminal record, the state sentencing-guidelines in his case came out to 18 months to 3 1/2 years in prison — which, on Friday, Fitzpatrick called "woefully inadequate." He also argued that Suh "should at least have a long period of probation." However, defense attorney David Hall emphasized that, by now, his client had already been incarcerated "just one week short" of a year in jail.
"The probation officer's report says he's a 'spoiled, young man,'" said Hall. "But this has cost him a professional golfing career — he's already won eight amateur contests."
"Which makes it all the more puzzling [why Suh did what he did], when he had so much going for him," said Judge Williams. Hall then suggested sending Suh to the boot-camp program in White Post, Va. "It will impose discipline on him," said the attorney. "He needs discipline to grow up."
WILLIAMS THEN asked about Suh's plans to make restitution to the victims of his crimes, and Hall assured him that he has a list of the people's names and the amounts owed them. (He later declined, however, to reveal the total dollar amount to Centre View).
Before Williams pronounced sentence, Suh stood and said he recognizes that what he did was wrong. "I ask for forgiveness," he said. "Give me a chance to become a better person."
The judge then sentenced him to two years in prison on each burglary charge, and five years for the eluding-a-police-officer charge. He then suspended all of that time. He also ran the burglary charges consecutively to each other and concurrently with the eluding charge.
Williams then ordered Suh into the detention/diversion-center program at White Post and placed him on indefinite probation. He also ordered him to make full restitution and, once he's released, to maintain full-time employment and perform 100 hours community service.
As a convicted felon, Suh must also give a sample of his DNA to be entered into the Virginia data bank for felons. In addition, the judge ordered him to complete his GED and take an anger-management class. Suh said he'd already done them both, and Williams told him to submit written proof.
Afterward, Hall said he believes his client's sentence was "fair and reasonable." After all, he added, "He's been sitting in jail for a year — which is a lot for a 19-year-old kid."
At White Post, Suh will also learn life skills and receive substance-abuse treatment and intense supervision. "And if he screws up in the program, it doesn't count as time served," said Hall. "Then he'll have to do two years in prison."