A Durango man found guilty of two counts of first-degree criminal trespass and attempt to commit aggravated motor vehicle theft was sentenced Friday in District Court to 24 years in prison.
Louie Leonardo Albo, 34, has a lengthy criminal history with nine felonies. Under Colorado's “three strikes” law, Albo was charged as a habitual offender because he was previously convicted of more than three separate felonies.
Prison sentences under the habitual offender statute are much longer than the normal maximum sentence.
On Sept. 13, 2016, Albo attempted to steal a truck from Exxon Tempo Mini Mart, 20800 U.S. Highway 160, in west Durango.
The owner of the vehicle, Alexander Hostiuck, left his 6-year-old son restrained inside the truck while he went to purchase a drink.
Albo was attempting to put the vehicle into gear when Hostiuck confronted him. The father physically removed Albo from the truck, and he fled.
Police received a second call that evening from the Westwood Apartments along the same stretch of highway.
Daniel Crutcher and Shelbi Phelps were preparing to leave when they noticed Albo seated inside their vehicle. Albo again fled, but officers arrested him shortly after.
Hostiuck told the court that part of his son's innocence was lost that day.
“My sincere desire is to see justice served today,” he said. “I no longer trust people or give them the benefit of the doubt. I have no respect for a thief. This is an unforgivable act.”
Albo maintained his innocence throughout the legal proceedings.
“My family has been devastated by this,” he said. “No one in here sees the good; they only see the bad. I'd like nothing more than to be back home with my family.”
Albo's public defense lawyer, Annie Woods, attributed his actions to a difficult childhood.
“I know the vast majority in here think Mr. Albo is a hardened criminal,” she said. “He had an abusive father who wouldn't feed or clothe him.”
Albo was facing either 12 or 24 years behind bars, depending on whether the judge stacked the two charges on top of each other or made them run consecutively. Woods argued that consecutive sentences was unnecessarily harsh because Albo “never provoked any violent confrontations.”
District Judge William Herringer deliberated the sentence, but ultimately decided on the maximum penalty.
“What drives this case is his history,” Herringer said. “While not egregiously violent, it is longstanding and persistent. No one would argue he had a difficult upbringing, but he's had numerous interventions with the criminal justice system. Society needs a break from Mr. Albo taking people's property.”
Albo dropped his head and wept as the sentence was announced.