A Madison man was sentenced Monday 15 years and a $5,000 fine for an attempted robbery.
Karter Bounds of Madison appeared before the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court and pled guilty to an indictment of robbery.
The indictment came from an incident on Nov. 15, 2017. Bounds kicked down the front door around 3:30 a.m. while stoned to an apartment on Holtsinger Avenue in the Cotton District.
According to the prosecution, Bounds entered the apartment with a firearm stolen from one of his roommates at the time wearing surgical rubber gloves and a ski mask. Bounds was accompanied by two accomplices.
Inside the apartment, Bounds found the tenant, James Land, and held him at gunpoint. A struggle ensued, and Land was able to wrestle the firearm away while also knocking the ski mask off of Bounds. Land kept Bounds at gunpoint until the Starkville Police Department arrived on scene.
One of the accomplices, D'Kerius McCoy, was arrested and charged with robbery. The second accomplice was never identified by authorities.
Land and Bounds had previously held a friendly relationship through their college careers, with Bounds even relaxing with Land at the apartment on the same day as the robbery. Land said on the witness stand Bounds had no one to blame his mistakes on but himself because he came from a life full of opportunity.
"Karter Bounds, the fact that you're still here alive to this day is a God-given miracles," Land said.
"You have screwed up nearly every single opportunity you've been given in your life. You grew up in a two parent home, went to a private high school, drove a Range Rover and had your rent paid for by your parents while you attended college."
Land explained he only knew about Bounds financial freedoms because he was friends with Bounds' former roommates, who often complained that he was short on rent money.
The roommates' parents would call Bounds' parents to sort out the situation, only to be told they had already given their son money for rent.
Bounds' defense attorney, William Andy Sumrall, brought several witness to attest to Bounds' character to show a transformation in his client.
Cherie Bond said she had known Bounds since he was a young teenager. Bounds used to come over to her home to help her daughter study as they were in the same class.
She said she'd watched him grow from this experience and felt the need to shepherd the troubled man as much as she could as he struggled with his drug and alcohol addiction
Bounds did go to a rehabilitation center following the robbery and completed the program.
Bond said she believed Bounds was a changed man and living a sober life now.
When the prosecution asked Bond if she was aware Bond had received a DUI last week, Bond took a moment to respond. The prosecution pressed, asking if her opinion of Bounds remained the same.
"I would say that I am very disappointed," Bond said. "Very disappointed."
Talia Sullivan worked with Bounds as a clinical therapist while he was receiving rehabilitation treatment at the Capstone Treatment Center.
Sullivan said the Capstone facility worked with an intensive program. She added that typically when people came to see her they were in a very bad position.
Sullivan characterized Bounds as being reluctant at the start of the program due to his fear and lack of understanding of his own addiction.
"We spent a significant amount of time looking at the reasons that would contribute to Karter's drug use and really taking a reality check of how serious things had gotten and that we were past the point of partying or fraternity actions for typical college kids," Sullivan said.
Regarding Bounds sobriety lapses, Sullivan said relapses were not uncommon, though she stressed that slip-ups did not negate a person's progress in battling addiction.
Sullivan also stressed that Bounds had spent much of the time since leaving treatment building a support system and going to prison would drastically impact the effectiveness of that system.
"If we put him in any situation like incarceration, I think we are majorly backtracking on some of the work we could be doing," Sullivan said.
Brittany Land, sister to James Land, was present at the apartment the night Bounds broke down the front door. She said the night was a persistent stain on her memory as she addressed Bounds.
"I'll never be able to get the sound of you busting down the door in the middle of the night out of my head because I was awake," Brittany said. "Or the sound of my brother screaming my name while I was locked in my bedroom while he was having to deal with you."
Brittany was trapped in her room at the apartment by one of Bounds' accomplices during the attempted robbery.
On the witness stand, she described her life since the home invasion as nightmarish due to the lack of security she now feels. Having graduated in Dec. 2017, she had dreams of using her degree to travel to new cities and experiences new things.
Now, she said she has had to move back in with her parents due to the anxiety that comes from living alone. She said she cannot sleep without medication because of Bounds.
"I don't know if I'll ever be able to move off and live on my own, and you're completely to blame for that," Brittany said.
She noted Bounds' presence at the apartment prior to the home invasion and accused him of planning the robbery while pretending to be her friends with her brother.
In her time living with her parents in Madison, Brittany said she saw Bounds twice engaging in behavior that made her question his sobriety. The first time was at a gas station where Brittany said she saw Bounds buying beer and claimed to have a video to prove it.
The second occurrence was when Brittany went out to celebrate her birthday only to see Bounds drinking at the bar when she walked in, immediately causing her to burst into tears.
James Land said before the attempted robbery, he never viewed Bounds in an especially negative light.
"Until the moment I realized it was your face behind that ski mask that night, I never thought you were a terrible person, just someone who had made a couple of bad choices in your lifetime," James said. "But if I would have known how evil you truly are, I would have never let you step foot near me or any of my loved ones, especially my sister."
James continued, saying he was not the victim that night and arguing he and his sister had every right to kill Bounds in response to the threat he posed.
"The police didn't save my life that night," James said. "They saved me from beating you senseless and possibly killing you. That's the only one thing I regret not doing before they showed up."
Judge Lee Coleman presided over the case. While deliberating on sentencing, Coleman said prison time was an absolute requirement for such a violent crime and noted he would have been more lenient had Bounds not received a DUI.
Coleman did acknowledge the outstanding letters he had received on Bounds' behalf, but ultimately, he could not escape the violent nature of the crime.
"I don't know, in fact, I don't believe that penitentiary time is going to help this young man," Coleman said. "I don't think there's any rehabilitation there. I think he can do that outside the prison system better than anything else."
Coleman sentenced Bounds to 15 years for his crime. Of those years, 10 will served in prison, and five will be on probation. Coleman also gave Bounds a $5,000 fine to paid upon his release from confinement in monthly intervals of $100.
Bounds said he regretted what he'd done in a statement given to the judge.
"I want to start by apologizing to the victim and his family for all the pain and trouble I've put them through the past two years," Bounds said. "I know that's never going to be enough for them to have some type of forgiveness, but at the end of the day, there's no way for me to go back in time and undo what has already happened."
One of many of the conditions Coleman attached to Bounds' probation period was the insistence that he stay away from illegal drugs and all forms of alcohol, including beer.
Coleman warned Bounds that if he messed up even a little, he would serve the full 15 years of his sentence in prison.