Wednesday, August 20, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;60.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-08-20 00:50:25
Saturday, June 14, 2014

Nashua woman at ‘crossroads’ avoids prison on felony theft conviction

NASHUA – A 22-year-old Nashua woman avoided prison on Friday when a judge sided with her lawyer’s proposed sentence after a home invasion in which she was involved late last year.

Cassandra Gurley pleaded guilty to felony theft, robbery and burglary charges at a hearing on Friday at Hillsborough County Superior Court. Judge Charles Temple sentenced her to 18 months in the Valley Street jail, where she has already spent the last six months. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – A 22-year-old Nashua woman avoided prison on Friday when a judge sided with her lawyer’s proposed sentence after a home invasion in which she was involved late last year.

Cassandra Gurley pleaded guilty to felony theft, robbery and burglary charges at a hearing on Friday at Hillsborough County Superior Court. Judge Charles Temple sentenced her to 18 months in the Valley Street jail, where she has already spent the last six months.

Gurley is one of four people, including her brother, Richard Gurley, arrested after police were called to an apartment at 37 Crown St. around 5:30 p.m. Dec. 27 for the report of a home invasion and theft.

The two residents of the apartment told police that Gurley arrived at the apartment offering one of the men sex in exchange for money. When he declined, Gurley opened the apartment door, admitting three men into the apartment. One was armed with a length of PVC pipe and allegedly assaulted one of the residents.

When the group left, one of the residents discovered that his wallet, containing his ID and $950, was missing, Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney David Tencza said Friday.

Tencza asked Temple to sentence Gurley to 21⁄2 to seven years in prison, along with a suspended sentence and five years of probation.

“This was a violent situation where Ms. Gurley was involved in bringing people to someone else’s home for the purpose of robbing and assaulting them,” he said. “It clearly could have gone much worse for everyone involved that day.”

Gurley’s defense attorney, Don Topham, asked for a 12-month jail sentence. He said Gurley’s mother and brother are in jail and that she has spent her entire life fending for herself while her mother battled addiction.

“Basically, Cassandra raised herself,” Topham said. “She managed to keep herself out of the criminal justice system until the last couple of years, when she had some issues with drugs. She wanted me to tell you she doesn’t want to emulate her mother. She wants to take another path.”

Topham said Gurley is someone for whom the Valley Street jail has been a shock and that – given her age and limited criminal history – she is someone who is at a crossroads that two years in prison won’t help.

“This is someone who, at this point in her life, has to make a decision about where her life is going to go,” he said. “And she’s seen what will happen if she doesn’t straighten out and stay off drugs.”

Temple agreed, and spent several minutes encouraging Gurley to work hard at the court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment included in her sentence to get her life back on track.

“It looks like your life has literally exploded, from a criminal standpoint, in the last two years,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that your addiction is driving some behavior that’s placed you where you are now. You are definitely worth saving even if other people in your life haven’t told you that. You’re at this crossroads, and right now you’re on this path that is just so destructive to yourself and others.”

Gurley pleaded guilty to theft by unauthorized taking, robbery and criminal liability to conduct of another – burglary.

The felony theft charge stemmed from an earlier incident at a Shell gas station on West Hollis Street.

Tencza said Gurley helped a man steal nearly $2,000 worth of cigarettes from the store by entering the bathroom, climbing into the drop ceiling, lowering themselves into an office and taking cartons of cigarettes valued at $1,941.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter
(@Telegraph_JoeC).