Teens begin robbery sentences

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Two teenagers who teamed up with a third to commit a string of robberies in the fall of 2005 began long prison terms Friday.

Alonzo Blake and Michael Yarbray, both 19, had bright futures, their attorneys said in U.S. District Court. Both did well in school and both worked after-school jobs. Mr. Blake was already in college after graduating high school with honors.

But for several months in the fall of 2005, the two teens and Jeremiah A. Lane, 20, decided for reasons they couldn't define Friday that they would rob a number of south Augusta businesses.

Although the businesses were not federal institutions, crimes involving commercial establishments or weapons can be prosecuted in state or federal court.

While Mr. Blake or Mr. Lane served as drivers and lookout men, Mr. Yarbray pulled on a mask and went inside the business with a gun. Anyone present was forced into walk-in freezers, bathrooms or to the floor.

At the last robbery Nov. 21, 2005, Mr. Yarbray fired the weapon.

"Seventeen- and 16-year-olds simply don't use the same judgment we would use," said Mr. Blake's attorney, Michael Garrett.

Anyone would agree the case was lamentable, U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. said, but it was also reprehensible.

Because of mandatory minimum sentences for firearms and the use of firearms, prison sentences for both teenagers increased.

Mr. Yarbray was sentenced to 216 months and Mr. Blake was sentenced to 147 months. Mr. Lane's sentencing was postponed.

Their sentences were increased by 10 years and five years, respectively, because of the gunfire in the last robbery. Mr. Yarbray's sentence was greater because he fired the gun, but Mr. Blake's increased because he also was involved in the crime.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.


Mandatory minimum sentences in federal court require an additional 10 years if the defendant fired a weapon and an additional five years if the defendant participated in a crime during which a gun is fired. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

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debby 02/03/07 - 08:42 am
Good. Criminals, young or

Good. Criminals, young or old, need to realize that they shouldn't commit a crime, if they don't want to serve the time.

crackertroy 02/03/07 - 11:15 am
"Seventeen- and 16-year-olds

"Seventeen- and 16-year-olds simply don't use the same judgment we would use," said Mr. Blake's attorney, Michael Garrett."

I never robbed anyone when I was 16-17 and did not have any friends who did either. What a bunch of nonsense, these kids deserve what they get -probably more.

jack 02/03/07 - 12:11 pm
Crackertroy, you have to

Crackertroy, you have to understand that defense attorneys like Mr Garrett will try to make excuses for murder (or any other croe such as these).

2deepsouth 02/03/07 - 06:47 pm
I agree with debby, they

I agree with debby, they deserve what they get. If they were never caught, they probably would have shot somebody by now. The last robbery he fired the gun, so he obviously did not care for the well being of anybody around him.

Dblocs 02/04/07 - 11:32 am
I agree with crackertroy, we

I agree with crackertroy, we are all faced with desicions, obviously these kids made the wrong ones and should have to pay.

jay88rock 02/15/07 - 09:56 am
Mr. Blake is a personal

Mr. Blake is a personal friend of mine, in fact he is my next door neighbor. He is a good person, he just got caught up in a bad situation with the wrong crowd. He made a bad decision, and he is living with it, but he is a reaaly great person. The other two, I really didn't care too much for, but don't characterize someone you know nothing about please!!! Thank you

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