Two years ago, South Whidbey resident Kody Schwiger graduated from adult Drug Court, was off heroin and talked about becoming a lawyer.
Judges, attorneys and court employees gathered at Island County Superior Court to congratulate him for completing the program, which combines close monitoring with drug treatment. It seemed he had finally kicked a habit that had devastated his promising young life.
Last week, the 26-year-old was back in court to be sentenced for a series of crimes he committed on South Whidbey. He had earlier pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a stolen car, theft in the first degree, residential burglary and criminal trespass in the first degree.
Churchill Vickie Churchill sentenced him to 15 months in prison.
Deputy Prosecutor Michael Safstrom said Schwiger chose to serve a longer sentence rather than agree to a prison-based drug offender sentencing alternative, which would have meant drug treatment.
One of Schwiger’s victims spoke at length about the traumatic effect the crimes had on him and his family. In January, Schwiger burglarized his home, stealing a gun, a crossbow, jewelry, a Civil War sword and other items.
“I just can’t get over the feeling you were in my bedroom, without permission and with ill intent,” the man said, addressing Schwiger. “Going through our most personal space. Taking what could never be replaced.”
The man said Schwiger has had multiple chances to turn his life around, but now needs a long sentence and treatment.
“Help him see, with a severe sentence, he has hit bottom and maybe, just maybe, he will choose to turn his life around,” he said.
A video doorbell captured Schwiger as he entered the house in Freeland. The video clip was posted on the sheriff’s office Facebook page and other social media. An anonymous caller identified Schwiger.
Two days later, an interrupted burglary was reported on Lone Lake Road. The homeowners saw a man driving away in their car; thousands of dollars worth of silver coins and jewelry were also taken.
A couple of days later, deputies found Schwiger and his girlfriend sleeping in the stolen vehicle in the parking lot of Ken’s Korner. The stolen gun, stolen silver coins and some of the stolen jewelry were found inside the car.