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Military couple who won $10K in free groceries sent to jail for theft

FARMINGTON — A Layton husband and wife who won a $10,000 grocery giveaway after they were charged with stealing from a Kohl's store have been sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years' probation in connection with the theft.

The pair appeared remorseful in 2nd District Court in Farmington Thursday.

"I'm looking forward to paying the restitution and whatever it takes to make things right," said Nicholas Mannino, 37. His attorney, Julie George, told the judge that her client, a retired U.S. Army corporal, has severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

In 2016, he and Stephanie Mannino, 34, stole about $5,000 worth of merchandise from the Layton Kohl's where she worked, they admitted in April as part of separate deals with prosecutors. Stephanie Mannino failed to ring up merchandise her husband brought to her register, or rang it up and then deleted it before he left with the items, according to plea documents.

On Thursday, each was sentenced to pay roughly $1,900 in restitution to the store.

Judge Thomas Kay also ordered Nicholas Mannino to receive treatment for PTSD. A program in Denver has accepted him, George said, and he'll fly to Colorado after the jail term if a spot is still available then.

Stephanie Mannino also apologized, saying she has taken steps to move forward, including getting a new part-time job, applying to pursue an advanced degree, getting therapy once a week and joining several support groups.

"I did do it and there's no excuse for what I did," she said.

Days before the couple was due in court in November for the charges, a group that helps military families who are struggling financially awarded the couple the grocery prize. The charity, Operation Homefront, said later it was saddened by the case and would consider the resolution in deciding whether to award the entire $10,000. Background checks weren't typically required when the parents of six were selected, the group has said.

Kay suspended possible prison terms of one to 15 years for the couple. Each is set to begin the month in jail on June 10.

At the hearing Thursday, Deputy Davis County Attorney Jeff Thomson argued for a heftier sentence for Stephanie Mannino, noting she was convicted in a separate theft case in Layton in March.

Mannino said she pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, theft of lost property, in order to avoid more jail time. She said it stems from her daughter receiving someone else's phone at a children's clothing shop and then leaving it in a parking lot outside the store. A second charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, also a misdemeanor, was dropped.