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Woman pleads guilty to burglarizing homes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A woman who burglarized several East End homes, including those of a circuit judge and a local attorney, pleaded guilty Monday.

Mary Elizabeth Browning, 33, of Charleston, told Kanawha Circuit Judge Charlie King that she was under the influence of drugs when she did it. She asked to be released from jail and said she is attempting to get into a rehabilitation program.

Some of the charges relating to some burglaries were dismissed in exchange for that guilty plea. But she will be sentenced in January for stealing from Circuit Judge Carrie Webster and husband Greg Skinner and from attorney Mark Sadd.

Browning is the daughter-in-law of former West Virginia Attorney General Chauncey H. Browning, who died in 2010. She is married to Charles P. Browning, who was charged with child neglect recently.

Those charges stemmed from a call by neighbors to police when the couple's 19-month old son cried for hours. Authorities found him strapped in a stroller and Browning under the influence of narcotics.

Mary Browning was caught by police inside the house of Sadd, carrying a duffle bag full of items taken from the home. Not far away, Webster's home and others had also been broken into by Browning.

"Do you remember what you did?" King asked her.

"I was completely incoherent," Browning said. "I was fully intoxicated and out of my mind."

At a previous hearing, she told the judge she would use funds from a trust fund to post her $40,000 cash bond. But her attorney Monday said she had not been able to pay that bond and she has been incarcerated since her arrest.

Following her guilty plea, the judge agreed to allow her to post a $2,500 or ten percent cash bond and continue her attempt to be admitted to a drug treatment program.

"I want to take this opportunity to get better for myself and my children," she said.

Browning will be sentenced in January.

Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cherylc@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.


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