Pauls Valley Democrat
A somber mood and at times high emotions filled a Pauls Valley courtroom Monday as two more defendants in a couple of 2010 home invasions were sentenced to additional time behind bars.
Tears were seen often as family and friends were present as formal prison sentences were given to both Justin Robbins and Jonathon Smith, both 24 years old.
The two are among the group of five area men who each received multiple criminal counts on the accusation they invaded homes in Pauls Valley and Elmore City resulting in a night of terror for those inside.
Four have admitted their involvement, while another was convicted in a jury trial earlier this year.
Both Robbins and Smith have admitted to being one of four masked men who forced their way in to burglarize the two area homes on Nov. 14-15 three years ago.
A fifth man, Tygue Stephens, has admitted to being the getaway driver. He has pleaded no contest and awaits his sentence in January.
As for Robbins, his supporters literally filled a Garvin County District courtroom.
All were there to show their support and at times express their desire for him to remain free because of all the positives things he’s been doing for more than a year now through his work with local churches and youth groups.
Later in the same day family members of Smith were on the front row and even took the stand to offer their pleas for leniency.
Both defendants received a variety of prison terms for the multiple counts they faced with much of the time suspended.
In the end it amounted to a five-year term in prison for Robbins, while Smith is now looking at eight years of incarceration.
Robbins, who has already spent more than a year in county jail, was given credit for time already served.
Assistant District Attorney Tara Portillo was not shy about offering her anger over a sentence she felt was way too light for Robbins.
“I’m flabbergasted that you can commit two violent home invasions and only spend five years in prison,” she said.
With the courtroom filled, mostly for supporters of Robbins, the drama built as District Judge Greg Dixon detailed his decision to sentence him to five years in prison.
“You’ve had an amazing outpouring of grace on your behalf today,” Dixon said about the testimony and support on Robbins’ behalf.
“The overwhelming theme, for lack of a better term, was you presented your faith.”
The judge also described the home invasions as a “night of horrors” for the residents assaulted in the two area homes back in 2010.
In comparison Derrick Lane, 22, who was the first of the five suspects to plead in the case, was given a 20-year prison sentence.
Described as the person who came up the idea of burglarizing the homes, Steven Thompson, 34, also known as “Petey G,” was given a 25-prison sentence after being convicted on eight of nine counts earlier this year.
Editor’s Note: More on the two sentencing hearings will come in the PV Democrat later this week.