WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
Two men with no criminal history and “good” childhoods were sentenced Wednesday for their involvement in a home invasion.
D’Andre Andrews Hardy, 21, and Marklin Antonio Mitchell Jr., 22, each received sentences of 20 years in prison on one count of robbery, which they pleaded guilty to in January after providing the prosecution with all the details of the Lafayette Village armed robbery.
Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court Judge Michael McGinty recognized their willingness to cooperate with prosecution early on in the case and their lack of previous criminal charges, opting to suspend most of their 20-year sentences.
Hardy, whose cooperation Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Gaten called “essential” to gathering enough evidence to prosecute, had 17 years of his 20-year sentence suspended.
Mitchell, who brought a shotgun with him to the door of the apartment before handing it off to one of the other men with them that night, had 16 years suspended.
The two were joined at the apartment complex off Longhill Road the night of Jan. 5, 2014 by Devonte J. Hayes and Christopher Allen Williams Jr., who were both convicted of armed robbery, breaking and entering and use of firearm charges.
The four men were wearing black ski masks and bandannas the night of Jan. 5, 2014 when they broke into a marijuana dealer’s apartment after seeing a picture of him flashing money on Facebook, Gaten said.
After busting through the door, the four scattered among the seven adults and two children who were in the apartment at the time, with Williams holding a shotgun to a woman’s head and Hayes taking the homeowner’s .22 caliber handgun from a kitchen drawer and shooting another man in the neck and upper arm.
The four fled the scene in Hardy’s 2003 gold Taurus with the occupants’ wallets, cell phones, an Xbox 360, CDs, video games and the handgun, Gaten said.
Police later tracked down Williams and Hardy at a home on Algonquin Trail, standing in front of a burning trash can that contained some of the stolen items, as well as a burnt bandanna and a black ski mask.
Hayes and Mitchell were arrested at a nearby 7-Eleven.
Mitchell told McGinty he was “lost” at the time of the incident and was not sure what he wanted to do in life.
He and Hardy were friends before the home abduction but were hanging out with the wrong crowd, their lawyers said, calling the incident an “aberration.”
“I think you recognize, unfortunately — maybe in retrospect — just how frightening this situation was,” McGinty told Hardy, acknowledging he and Mitchell’s actions were “out of character” given their “good” backgrounds.
Williams, who held the shotgun to the woman’s head in the apartment and acknowledged he had been previously involved with the Crips gang, received 53 years in prison with all but 12 years suspended for one count of robbery, one count of armed burglary and one count of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Hayes, who pleaded guilty in January, will be sentenced May 22 and faces an active incarceration of up to 17 years for one count of breaking and entering, one count of armed robbery and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.