A man who rejected a plea offer from prosecutors on an armed robbery charge has now been indicted by a Boyle County grand jury for being an alleged persistent felony offender, which could stiffen his prison sentence if he is convicted at trial in June.
Michael W. Durham, 26, of Stanford, faces three PFO counts, one for each of the charges against him in the 2010 home invasion robbery of Warren and Mary Bigger of Junction City: two counts of first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.
Durham rejected a plea deal from Commonwealth’s Attorney Richie Bottoms in March, after his cousin Shawn Durham, also charged in the robbery, entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Michael Durham is scheduled for trial June 19 in Boyle Circuit Court.
Commonwealth’s Detective Cindy Hammond explained that if Durham is found guilty of being a persistent felony offender — he was convicted on a 2006 felony charge in Madison County, according to the indictment — it will raise the level of robbery charges from a Class B felony to Class A.
A conviction on a Class B felony carries a sentence range of 15 to 20 years in prison, while the sentence range for Class A felonies is 20 years to life, Hammond said.
The Durhams were charged with being armed when they allegedly forced their way into the Biggers’ home, pistol-whipped Warren Bigger and threatened Mary Bigger with a gun before taking old coins, cash, jewelry and a laptop computer. The Durhams were on the lam for several days before being captured in Virginia, where they were charged with additional counts of burglary and theft.
The Biggers and a Virginia state trooper involved in the Durhams’ arrest there are expected to testify at Michael Durham’s trial.