Third defendant sentenced in Janesville home invasion

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Jake Magee
Thursday, September 21, 2017

JANESVILLE—While four masked men ransacked a home and terrorized a family one cold January night last year, Latres Robinson smoked marijuana and used cocaine while sitting in the getaway vehicle outside.

At one point, Robinson handed a gun to Damien Hewlett, who was the most aggressive and threatening of the home invaders.

Robinson hoped transporting the robbers would net him $1,000 to support his drug habit. After driving the men to and from the crime scene, Robinson earned $100.

Robinson, 22, of 1703 Portland Ave., Beloit, was sentenced Wednesday in Rock County Court to seven years in prison and 13 years of extended supervision. He has 478 days of jail credit toward his sentence.

The six men implicated in the crime wanted to rob a drug dealer they knew, said defense attorney Murali Jasti.

Before the incident, the son of the terrorized family posed for a social media photo with Sterling Olsen, one of the accused home invaders who has pleaded not guilty. The son fanned out thousands of dollars for the photo, and Olsen stole $1,000, Jasti said.

When the son found out, he met up with Olsen outside a Shopko and assaulted him. Olsen then recruited others, Robinson included, to rob the son's home, Jasti said.

The night of the robbery, the men wielded guns and ransacked the home while the son, his parents and 8-year-old sister were home. The family was tied up and threatened.

Documents suggest Olsen directed the operation by phone but was not at the scene.

"That 8-year-old went through hell," said Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan. "His (Robinson's) need to smoke a blunt or smoke or snort cocaine has caused this girl to have her own prison for the rest of her life."

The mother spoke in court Wednesday and demanded justice for her forever-changed family. Her husband refuses to sleep without a gun next to the bed, and her daughter lives in constant fear.

The mother acknowledged Robinson didn't enter her home, but he still transported the people who did.

"I only want justice for my family. I only want to not live in fear," she said.

Jasti said Robinson wasn't aware of the gravity of what he'd signed up for. He played a minimal role compared to the men accused of entering the home, Jasti said.

Robinson read a written apology.

"There's been times I thought I could not live with the guilt," he said. "I was not thinking of anyone but myself."

Robinson said he was in a bad place at the time of the crime.

"I'm sorry it took this for me to stop where I was headed," he said.

As part of a plea agreement, Sullivan didn't recommend a length of prison sentence. Two separate pre-sentence investigations recommended four to five and nine to 10 years initial confinement, respectively.

Jasti requested four to five years of initial confinement, noting Robinson has completed four of five tests necessary to earn his high school equivalency degree.

"I think that's a credit to him and how hard he's working," Jasti said.

"I've been trying to show I can be a better person," Robinson said.

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