A Sandy youth who just turned 18 will stand trial as an adult for a $150,000 burglary and car theft earlier this year.
Joshua T. Wright was certified as an adult Tuesday by 3rd District Juvenile Judge Olof Johansson. He is accused of breaking into a home in the south end of Salt Lake County, stealing a $65,000 Mercedes roadster and $80,000 in jewelry and guns.Deputies arrested him after the break-in when he wrecked the stolen car following a 110 mph chase through several Sandy neighborhoods. Officers also recovered a loaded handgun from the car - one that was disassembled when taken from the house.
"This young man had a total disregard for the public safety. . . . Society is not safe with Josh on the street," said prosecutor Gregory Warner in closing arguments. "He had a loaded gun when he was stopped, a gun that he had to put together and loaded."
Wright, who was convicted of 18 felony crimes while a juvenile, now faces two counts of theft, both second-degree felonies, and one count each of burglary and failure to respond to an officer's signal.
If convicted in adult court, the teen could be sentenced to one to 15 years in prison on two of the four counts and zero to five years on the other counts.
Detectives are still looking for jewelry worth $20,000; the other valuables have been recovered.
Defense attorney Sam Pappas argued Wright does not have a history of offenses against people and is not violent.
"What he needs most is a secure facility where he can get the treatment to help him with his drug problem," Pappas argued, noting the court had done everything possible for the boy except to sentence him to Decker Lake.
He said Wright deserves a chance in Decker Lake, where the presumption of rehabilitation reigns. "Adult prison will only worsen his situation," Pappas concluded.
"It is unrealistic to believe that any additional use of juvenile-justice resources could be expected to rehabilitate (Wright) within a reasonable period of time, in light of his previous failure to do so and his history of criminal conduct," he wrote in his order.