The resources of assigned counsel are not infinite, which helps explain why Shania Twain was a no-show as a witness in a local burglary case. Madonna and Tommy Shaw of Styx didn’t make it, either.
Whether their testimony would have changed the outcome for defendant Michael Loretto may never be known, but after a year and a half, the matter of two November 2014 suburban break-ins came to an uneventful close on Monday in State Supreme Court.
Loretto – who in numerous appearances has told the court, sometimes profanely, that he is better known as “Michael Joseph the drummer Sticks (or perhaps Styx)” – was sentenced to an indeterminate term of two to four years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of third-degree burglary. The plea, entered on Feb. 29, had taken some time in coming, since Loretto spent months adamantly arguing that he was not guilty because he owned the properties he was accused of illegally entering.
Shania Twain gave them to him, he said.
Madonna could be a character witnesses for him, he also said.
Loretto, 52, was arrested in November 2014 after breaking into a Cheektowaga laundromat, which he entered during the November 2014 snow storm. He also was charged with burglarizing a Hamburg pizzeria two weeks before that.
Although he never actually took the stand, Loretto earlier asserted from his seat in court that his alleged “ownership” gave him the right to enter the businesses when he pleased – even if that also entailed filling his coat pockets with coins from the laundry’s machines and eating snacks from the pizzeria.
He also told Justice Penny M. Wolfgang in February that she shouldn’t pretend she was unaware that the properties were his, since she handled the matter herself “in the 1990s. You had red hair then,” he said.
The judge looked a little surprised, because, she said later, she did have red hair then.
Defense attorney Joseph Terranova conceded that Loretto’s contentions were “an unusual defense.” Particularly, he said outside of court, because he was unable to find any evidence that his client actually played the drums, or had any musical training whatsoever.
Even so, on Monday Terranova requested that Wolfgang include in her sentencing order a stipulation that, if possible, the Department of Corrections allow Loretto to keep his curly pony tail, since he was “a professional musician.”
She also declined a late request by the owner of the laundromat that Loretto pay $5,000 in damages.
“We are not going to order any restitution,” Wolfgang said. “It would be futile since we know the defendant doesn’t have any funds.”
With nearly a year and a half of jail time already served while his case was being argued, Loretto could be free within six months to two and a half years.