Heidi Lynn Veihl, 34, was sentenced Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court. She must also pay more than $5,500 in restitution, as well as any court fines and costs. She was given credit for 201 days already served in jail.
“I’m sorry for the trouble I’ve caused,” Veihl said prior to Judge Karen Miedema handing down the sentence.
Veihl said she hopes the issues she caused for all of the family members can somehow be repaired.
Veihl withdrew a guilty plea in May, when Miedema said she might not go along with the prosecutor’s recommendation of probation and in-patient drug treatment.
On Sept. 11, Veihl pleaded guilty to one count of home invasion in exchange for dropping a separate count and a habitual offender charge. The habitual offender charge was based on breaking and entering and larceny convictions from 2005, for which she spent time in prison.
The two incidents of theft occurred in February and March. Victims Sandra Katt and Mindy Ferguson said they lost family heirlooms and gifts that they hadn’t even had a chance to use.
Katt said the stolen items included a cross her mother wore at her first communion in 1925 and several other necklaces.
Ferguson, whose boyfriend was Veihl’s neighbor, said a Coach purse valued at $160, a watch and a new laptop computer were taken.
Police discovered some of the stolen items at local pawnshops.
Katt gave a statement during the May 8 hearing, noting that the situation has torn her family apart.
“My husband and I are very upset because we had treated Heidi as part of our family, welcomed her into our home and celebrated holidays together,” she said. “However, we all watched her life unravel over the past several years. Our son thought he could help her overcome her addiction, but his good intentions and that of her family only enabled her to further destruct.”
Ferguson also noted that Veihl was a nice person when she was sober, but that she’s come to see a different side of the woman since the home invasion incident. Ferguson asked that Veihl get treatment for her addiction and that she not be allowed contact with her, her boyfriend or her friend who was helping dog sit at the time of the home invasion.
“This is a sad illustration of the power addiction holds over the members of our community,” said Veihl’s attorney, Michael Zitta.
The defense attorney said his client had been able to get clean before, but ultimately the addiction led to a series of unfortunate events.