By Associated Press - Sunday, May 24, 2015

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) - A 56-year-old man who acted as his own attorney has been sentenced to life in prison in Sumter County for stealing $900 worth of cigarettes.

David Duren Jr. fell under South Carolina’s three-strikes law, which allows a life sentence when someone is convicted of three serious crimes. Duren was found guilty of degree burglary last week, Solicitor Ernest “Chip” Finney III told The Sumter Item ( ).

Finney said his office doesn’t often seek life under the three-strikes law, but it was appropriate in this case.

“There was the right set of circumstances to pursue that avenue. Mr. Duren has been in the system over and over again. He has shown no rehabilitation from any of his prior offenses served,” Finney said.

Duren was assigned two public defenders, but chose to be his own lawyer. He also was offered a plea deal that would have sentenced him to no more than 15 years behind bars, but rejected it and went to trial, Finney said.

Duren broke into a Sumter store by knocking down the back wall in June 2011, authorities said.

He was linked to the crime through his DNA found in a blood smear on a freezer in the business, investigators said.

Duren’s rap sheet includes five other burglary charges and an arson count from 1983 to 2013.


Information from: The Sumter Item,

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