The sentencing process has begun for four Van Buren Township teens in connection with the March 22 armed robbery in Wagon Wheel South Mobile Home Park in the township.
On Oct. 5, Joseph Marsh, 17, was sentenced to 5-15 years for pleading guilty to reduced charges of unarmed robbery plus 2 years for a felony arms conviction, to be served consecutively.
In addition to court costs, restitution in the amount of $300 to the victim for theft of an I-pod, TV and Wii game system will be split jointly between all four defendants.
Marsh was originally charged with two counts of armed robbery, home invasion, felony firearm and possession of marijuana. He could have ended up with life in prison.
Marsh’s attorney Murray Duncan in defense of his client said that Marsh had a clean record and was portrayed as a follower rather than a leader in this crime.
Duncan admitted that Marsh had made a serious mistake, but unlike the others took a BB gun in while the others had real guns.
Duncan asked for Marsh to be able to turn himself in on Dec. 21 so he could finish the first semester of his senior year at Belleville High School. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bill denied the request.
The female victim was very distraught and although she had planned to make a statement in court, changed her mind. In March the four teens had kicked in her door and held her and her family at gunpoint while robbing them.
Marsh turned to the victim and apologized, saying, “I’m sorry for what I have done.”
Marsh stated that he would like to go to college, play football, and become a chef.
Judge Bill stated that he sees only 1 in 15 defendants turn to apologize.
He counseled Marsh that the Department of Corrections will be watching to see if he goes to class, is respectful, and shows initiative. It is possible that some people learn from their mistakes and if Marsh can prove himself, the Department of Corrections will write a letter to the judge asking for alternative incarceration.
The victim was escorted from the courtroom by a Wayne County Sheriff’s deputy because of all the people who had come to the court to support Marsh.
Brandon Fair sentenced
Brandon Fair, who recently turned 18, was sentenced Oct. 9 for the same 5-15 years of plea-bargained crimes of unarmed robbery, plus two years for a felony fire arms conviction.
His court cost is $790, plus shared restitution f $300 to the victim.
Fair will turn himself in on Nov. 8 at 9 a.m. in Judge Bill’s courtroom. An agreement has been met that allowed Fair to vote in the upcoming election before heading to prison.
Alvin Sallen, Fair’s defense attorney, said he appreciated the grace offered. He stated his client was extremely remorseful and, no question, this was a stupid and serious act that was out of character. He said Fair wishes to take all classes offered by the Department of Corrections.
Fair thanked the court for “letting me stay out a month,” then turning to the victim he stated, “Sorry, it was a terrible mistake that I did and I’m going to learn from it.”
Fair said when released he hopes to go into Real Estate.
Other progress on the Wagon Wheel crime
Jaleel Booker whose trial was to begin Oct. 9 accepted a plea bargain, pleading guilty to unarmed robbery with a sentence of 1.5 years in prison and 3 years probation. Booker’s sentencing will be Nov. 1.
Renjamin Schibbling-Elmore’s sentencing has been changed to Oct. 15.
All the defendants were 17 years of age and BHS students at the time of the crime.