BILOXI -- A Biloxi man who made himself at home in a home he burglarized -- eating a ham sandwich and drinking the homeowner's wine before he left -- is going to prison.
A Harrison County jury late Thursday night found Edward Parker Eldridge, 61, guilty of breaking into a cottage on Beach Boulevard on June 10, 2014, District Attorney Joel Smith said. The jury reached its verdict in less than an hour.
Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced Eldridge to 20 years in prison and suspended 12 years, leaving eight to serve, followed by three years of probation.
Assistant District Attorney Beth McFadyen said Biloxi police officers testified they had responded to a 911 call from the homeowner.
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"The victim had returned home from work and saw that his house had been broken into and rummaged through," McFadyen said. "All of the homeowner's property had been scattered across the cottage and the defendant made himself at home by eating a ham sandwich and drinking the victim's wine."
While cleaning up the mess, the homeowner found a casino player's card with Eldridge's name on it, she said. The player's card and other evidence were collected by police, who determined officers had stopped Eldridge in the same area the day the burglary was reported. Police had arrested him on a trespassing charge; he was fined and released from jail.
Eldridge was wearing the homeowner's shirt when police found him 10 days later and arrested him on the burglary charge.
McFadyen said the homeowner testified the shirt had the name and logo of his family's North Mississippi farm.
ADA Ian Baker assisted in the prosecution.
The trial took place over two days.