AUBURN — Roughly one year ago, Ryan Goyette said he was a very different person.
A former groundskeeper at Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency, Goyette had stolen more than $5,000 worth of tools and equipment from the nonprofit to support an addiction to heroin. It was his second brush with the law, as he was previously convicted of possessing stolen property and falsifying business records in Onondaga County.
But now, Goyette said, he's a changed man.
On Tuesday, the 25-year-old appeared before Judge Mark Fandrich for sentencing and apologized to the court.
"I was a completely different person," Goyette said. "But I've turned my life around."
In September, Goyette, of 11289 South St., Cato, pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony. At the time, he admitted to pawning two snowblowers he stole from CSCAA last winter.
During sentencing, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann said Goyette's story was "familiar" as there have been several similar criminal cases spurred by drugs.
"These addictions are hard to beat," he said, noting that Goyette's opiate addiction stemmed from dental work in the past.
Goyette's defense attorney, David Elkovitch, agreed.
"It's an all too frequent situation in the court system ... and the community," he said. "Hopefully this is the last time we see him in this court."
Goyette — who said he is 10 months clean — was sentenced to five years probation and 30 days in jail. When given the choice between serving eight weekends in jail or 30 days straight, he opted for straight time. He will also have to successfully complete felony drug treatment court.
In addition, Goyette was ordered to pay approximately $3,100 in restitution. He will begin making monthly $100 payments in March.
Also in court:
• An Auburn teen was sentenced Tuesday for illegally possessing a handgun, which he intended to sell for drugs.
In November, 19-year-old Matthew Stanley pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon and third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, both felonies. During his plea, he admitted to stealing a friend's operable 9 mm handgun and ammunition, which he planned to trade for marijuana.
On Tuesday, the district attorney said Stanley had a limited history of petit larceny. However, Budelmann also noted that the teen has some more serious charges — burglary and grand larceny — pending in Onondaga and Cortland counties.
"He is at a young age and accumulating arrests at a rapid rate," Budelmann said.
Meanwhile, Stanley's defense attorney, Rome Canzano, said his client's behavior was "exceedingly dangerous," as it crossed the threshold of obtaining drugs to placing a dangerous instrument in the community. And like some of Canzano's other cases, the attorney said he worries what Stanley might face if he does not take his addiction seriously.
"We'll find ourselves in the same trap as many of the other defendants I've represented ... in state prison or the grave," Canzano said.
A transient of Auburn, Stanley was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation. Upon his release from Cayuga County Jail, he will be transferred to Onondaga County to deal with separate charges.
"This is a hopeful sentence," Budelmann said. "We're giving him a chance."