Spring Lake man sent to prison for home invasion

Becky Vargo • Jul 31, 2019 at 7:00 AM

A 43-year-old Spring Lake man apologized to his victims, but lamented that he put his trust in the wrong people.

“I found myself in the middle of something I didn’t know how to get out of,” Gary Austin Epplett said during a hearing Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court.

Epplett was found guilty by jury of home invasion in the second degree. He also pleaded guilty to being a three-time offender.

On Monday, Judge Karen Miedema sentenced Epplett to serve a minimum 30 months to a maximum 360 months in prison for his part in the September 2018 incident in Spring Lake Township. He was given credit for 155 days already served in jail. He was also ordered to pay $6,637 in restitution.

This past spring, a co-defendent — Joseph Daniel Mitchell, 28, of Grand Haven — had a charge of home invasion dismissed in return for a guilty plea to a charge of receiving and concealing stolen goods valued between $1,000 and $20,000. Mitchell was sentenced to 180 days in jail and two years of probation. He is currently facing a probation violation charge.

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