Man sentenced 20 to 40 years in prison for violent home invasion in Deerfield
Jacob Palo, 36, was sentenced roughly two weeks after he pleaded guilty in Rockingham County Superior Court to a variety of charges, including first-degree assault for attacking Dr. Arthur Cutter inside his Deerfield home. Palo took the money and three handguns, fleeing in the homeowner's Cadillac in the early morning hours of June 30, 2011.
His escape set off a police chase through five towns in Rockingham County. It took a brief hiatus in Raymond, when the Cadillac's tires were deflated from spike strips tossed into the road by police.
Officers searched for Palo through a wooded area along Route 27, but he took another truck parked at a home, and took off once again once he spotted a police roadblock, prosecutors said. The pursuit continued through Brentwood, Fremont and into Chester, where the pursuit ended along Route 102. That truck also had its tires deflated by spike strips. Palo drove until the wheels were down to its rims, according to police.
Deputy County Attorney Tom Reid argued that Palo should spend at least two decades behind bars due to the violent, premeditated attack, which he carried out with the help of two partners. Cutter was beaten in the head, and strangled before being robbed, prosecutors said.
Public defenders argued that Palo suffered from a drug addiction that motivated the crimes.
Judge N. William Delker told Palo he had no doubt that he suffered from drug addiction like it were a disease, but added "diseased people sometimes need to be quarantined before they kill someone," according to Assistant County Attorney Michael Zaino.
Palo pleaded guilty to charges of first- and second-degree assault, burglary, theft and being a felon in possession of a weapon and reckless conduct. He was indicted on 23 charges, but some of those charges were dropped as part of the negotiated plea agreement.
Cutter spoke during Monday's hearing, telling Delker about the impact the home invasion has had on his life, prosecutors said. Palo has spent 577 days behind bars, which will count toward his prison sentence.
Christopher Martin, 40, of Danbury is set to go on trial March 4 on charges of conspiracy to commit burglary and theft by unauthorized taking. Prosecutors say Martin did not go in the home but allegedly chose Cutter as a target.
In June, Sherri Avnet, 33, of Manchester was sentenced two to seven years in state prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit theft by unauthorized taking. She admitted to acting as a getaway driver and carried a backpack and bleach to the home. Avnet was required to become a state witness as part of her plea agreement with prosecutors.