Phillip Lemmons: A 26-year Army veteran who is dealing with issues including a service-related back injury, PTSD and financial struggles — or a liar, swindler and thief who tries to dodge the consequences of his crimes?  
    Those were the contrasting images 35th District Judge Steve Ellis was presented of the 49-year-old Bangs man during an adjudication hearing that began Monday afternoon and ended Tuesday morning.
    Ellis adjudicated Lemmons after finding he had violated conditions of his July 2014 probation for burglary of a habitation, and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
    Lemmons had been placed on a 10-year deferred adjudication probation after pleading guilty to burglarizing the home of Kirk and Darlene Wall and taking numerous items of jewelry, according to testimony. The Walls knew Lemmons and his then-wife, who was working for Walls family members who owned a business, several years before the burglary occurred.
    Lemmons was ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution to the Walls and an additional $8,000 in a fine, fees and court costs.
    Prosecutor Christina Nelson presented evidence that Lemmons had violated his probation by committing the felony theft of jewelry from a Cross Plains family while doing construction projects at the family’s home. That theft occurred in September 2015, and Lemmons pawned the jewelry, according to testimony.
    Lemmons also violated his probation by failing to pay any of the restitution, fine, fees and court costs, and had failed to perform any of the 200 hours of court-ordered community supervision, the state alleged.
    Lemmons had earlier stolen $6,000 worth of antiques from a friend, but that case was dropped after Lemmons paid restitution and the friend did not want to prosecute, according to testimony.
    Defense attorney Todd Steele argued the state had not proven Lemmons had committed a theft from the Cross Plains family, and if he had, it would have been a misdemeanor amount, Steele argued.
    Lemmons had said he’d been given the jewelry in lieu of payment for the work he’d done, Steele argued.
    Lemmons paid a price for his Army service, having experienced a back injury for which he needs surgery, PTSD and a ruptured appendix, Steele told Ellis. There is no evidence he’s been able to pay any of the restitution, fine, fees and court costs, Steele said.
    Steele asked Ellis to keep Lemmons on deferred adjudication probation. That would allow Lemmons time to receive treatment for his injuries and give him the opportunity to pay restitution and “make it right,” Steele said.
    Nelson in her closing argument asked for a 20-year sentence. “Twenty years is all we can do to try to make it right for all the people he has hurt,” Nelson told Ellis.
    Lemmons, while claiming he couldn’t pay the restitution and other court-ordered costs, had not disclosed his current wife’s annual earrings of $67,000, Nelson argued. While claiming he couldn’t perform community service because of his injured back, Nelson said, he’d been able to work at the Cross Plains home where he committed the theft.
    Lemmons was also able to hire Steele as his lawyer, give his college-age daughter a $200 a month clothing allowance and pay a phone bill that exceeds $400 a month, Nelson said.
    As Ellis prepared to announce his ruling, he said be believed Lemmons had not been truthful in some of his testimony. Ellis said the state had proven Lemmons had violated his probation.
    “I appreciate your service to the country,” Ellis told Lemmons. “That goes without saying. I regret that you’ve had injuries.”
    After Ellis announced the 10-year prison sentence, Steele asked if Lemmons could remain free for 30 days so he and his wife could get their business dealings wrapped up.
    “I understand that request. I deny it,” Ellis replied.
    Steele then said Lemmons was requesting to remain free for another day.
    “No, he is done. Stack him up,” Ellis said.