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Florida man gets 20 years for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes

Because the death penalty was off the table?

A Florida man who stole $600 worth of cigarettes from a convenience store was sentenced Friday to 20 years in state prison.

An Escambia County jury convicted Robert Spellman, 48, of burglary and grand theft in August. Spellman went into a Circle K in December, and stole 10 cartons of cigarettes from a stock room in the store manager’s office, authorities said.

The State Attorney’s Office said authorities found Spellman nearby, matching a description of the suspect, and had the cigarettes, The News Journal reported.  

Spellman had 14 felony and 31 misdemeanor convictions prior to the cigarette theft, which qualified him as a habitual felony offender, The News Journal reported. That led to the lengthy 20-year prison sentence imposed Friday by an Escambia County judge.

The lengthy prison term prompted outrage on social media, with some people accusing the prosecutor of imposing too harsh a sentence for a seemingly petty crime.  

OPINION: The cost to incarcerate this man will cost the state of Florida about $40,000 per year. A twenty-year sentence will cost taxpayers $800,000. Have we gone mad? Cosby rapes dozens and will only do 2 years and 9 months before heading back to his mansion. The judges and prosecutors need a dose of reality. They aren't protecting society, they are impoverishing it.

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