SEBRING — There’s littering, and then there’s LITTERING.
Ira James Garland, 41, got 30 days in jail Tuesday after pleading guilty to felony dumping, litter above 500 pounds. He could have received 5 years in prison had he been found guilty by a jury.
Garland, who has told the court in the past that he worked construction, pled guilty to dumping 27,000 pounds of trash, rubbish, and other items, including a trailer, according to Highlands County prosecutors.
That’s 13.5 tons of trash and debris.
What also may make the case so unusual is the number of times he had to be booked for not appearing for his court hearings: A total of three times after his initial arrest.
Court records show the original charge of littering above 500 pounds was filed against Garland in August 2020. Sheriff’s deputies arrested Garland in September 2020. In the year or more since his initial arrest, Garland missed his court dates and had to be arrested for failing to appear three times.
Had he stood trial on the charge, prosecutors put together the following evidence against Garland, according the state:
- 911 recordings
- Computer media
- Crime scene diagrams
- Crime scene photos
- Witness statements
And Garland’s conviction records.
Garland has prior convictions in trespass, domestic battery, three convictions petty theft; grand theft, battery and 2nd or 3rd county DUI.
He was given credit for time served and released Tuesday.