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.
local • 3A, 6A
Inmate charged in assault
A Rock County Jail inmate is accused of sexually assaulting his cellmate Sept. 8. Tyler E. Clark, 26, of 1614 Henry Ave., Beloit, was formally charged Tuesday in Rock County Court with second-degree sexual assault and battery by prisoner. Clark and his former cellmate were moved to separate units of the jail after the incident, Jail Cmdr. Erik Chellevold said.
state • 2A
Is provision unconstitutional?
GOP lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker might have gone too far in dictating how courts should handle any potential litigation over a massive flat-screen factory planned for Racine County, the Legislature’s nonpartisan attorneys have found.
nation/world • 6B
Repeal plan might lack votes
President Donald Trump said Wednesday the Republicans’ last-resort “Obamacare” repeal effort remains two or three votes short, forecasting days of furious lobbying ahead with a crucial deadline looming next week. The legislation would repeal major pillars of former President Barack Obama’s health law, replacing them with block grants to states.
The man who led Rock County and federal authorities on a 10-day manhunt in April wanted to discuss his beliefs about the 2nd Amendment during his upcoming trial, but a federal judge has ruled he can’t.
Joseph A. Jakubowski, 33, faces charges of stealing firearms and silencers from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Janesville and being a felon in possession of those firearms and silencers.
The maximum penalty for each count is 10 years in federal prison, or a total of 20 years. The trial in U.S. District Court in Madison starts Monday.
The Janesville man is accused of breaking into Armageddon Supplies gun shop April 4 and taking 18 firearms and two silencers. Just before the break-in, Jakubowski sent to President Donald Trump a 161-page manifesto in which he talked about being upset that he could not legally possess firearms because he is a convicted felon.
Jakubowski wrote that he needed guns to protect his businesses and family. He said he spent $12,000 in trying to regain his right to possess firearms, according to federal court documents.
Wisconsin court records show Jakubowski was convicted of two felonies: possession with intent to deliver marijuana in 2003 and disarming a police officer in 2008, both in Rock County.
Jakubowski made similar arguments in a letter he left for the gun shop owner, court documents show.
Jakubowski argued in the letter that the Second Amendment to the Constitution does not say that gun ownership can be limited for any reason.
The letter includes a statement that Jakubowski had never met the owner and an apology for the theft.
“I have the right to protect the ones I love and the property I own just as well as everyone else,” he wrote in the letter. “So I have taken what I need to protect myself as well as others!”
At the conclusion of the letter, he writes: “I’m not only protecting my people but am now fighting for our freedom. The time has come for revolution!”
Federal District Judge William Conley ruled Wednesday in favor of federal prosecutors’ motion to keep Jakubowski from discussing those ideas in front of a jury.
The prosecution argued that “Jakubowski’s motivation ... and his beliefs are not relevant to any consequential fact, and such argument can lead to ... jury nullification.”
Jury nullification is when a jury finds a defendant not guilty even though the weight of evidence should have led to conviction.
Jakubowski’s beliefs that certain laws are unconstitutional are not valid defenses, prosecutors argued, citing court precedent.
Further, prosecutors said Jakubowski would not be able to show that he broke the law to meet an imminent threat, and he could have taken legal steps to address his concerns about the government.
The prosecution attached portions of Jakuboswki’s manifesto to its motion, including the last page, which includes a signature that includes the words “Ghost of Freedom” and GOF.
The “O” in GOF has an A inside it, possibly an attempt to replicate a symbol used by some anarchists.
The trial is scheduled to last two to three days.
Conley also ruled Jakubowski may not introduce information about how a conviction might affect him or his family, and he can’t introduce information that could lead to an insanity defense or about his mental condition.
Jakubowski is also charged in Rock County Court with burglary while arming himself, felony theft and possession of burglary tools. That trial is scheduled for Oct. 23.