Florala man sentenced to 16 years for 2016 burglary

Published 2:01 am Saturday, February 2, 2019

Yusef Amin Thrash, 43, of Florala, pleaded guilty this week to burglary III before Circuit Judge Lex Short. Short sentenced Thrash to 16 years imprisonment under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act. Thrash’s plea came after a jury was selected and heard opening statements from the state and the defense. Once the jury was dismissed for lunch, Thrash notified his attorney of his wish to plead guilty instead of continuing with the trial. Assistant District Attorney Nikki Stephens prosecuted the case for the State. Attorney Larry Grissett, of Opp, represented Thrash.

Thrash was also indicted in two other cases, and also entered guilty pleas in those cases Tuesday afternoon. In a companion case to the burglary, Thrash pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 97 months imprisonment. In an unrelated drug case from 2018, Thrash pleaded guilty to unlawful possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and was sentenced to 16 years in that case as well.

Thrash was arrested in September 2016, following the burglary of a vacant home on 7th Avenue in Florala. The homeowner was in the process of renovating, but would often find the door to the home kicked in and things removed. According to the state, the homeowner received a call on August 29, 2016, from someone who witnessed Thrash removing an old clawfoot tub from the home. She contacted the police and filed a report.

Florala police later interviewed a witness that told police Thrash asked for help in loading a tub someone had “given” him, and the witness helped Thrash get the tub to Thrash’s residence. Thrash was uncooperative with the investigation and officers obtained a search warrant for his property.

Officers recovered stolen items from Thrash’s residence, including the tub described by the homeowner and the witness. Additionally, the Drug Task Force recovered an amount of methamphetamine and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia from the residence. Thrash was at the residence at the time officers executed the search warrant, but hid from officers until he was eventually found hiding underneath a tarp on the roof of the residence.

District Attorney Walt Merrell commended Stephens for a job well done.

Stephens noted that justice had been served, stating, “I am glad for the victim’s sake that we were able to bring this case to a conclusion without a full trial; however, the State was prepared to see this matter through to a conviction by a jury if necessary. Ultimately, justice was served and substantial time and resources were saved by disposing of these three cases in this manner. We could not have successfully prosecuted these cases without the substantial assistance of Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole, and all the other law enforcement officers that contributed to the investigation and apprehension of Mr. Thrash.”