A Cleveland man involved in the armed robbery of a Ravenna man who was shot once in the chest but survived the October 2012 incident has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the crime.
Antwan D. Ashford, 20, was sentenced Monday by Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow. He pleaded guilty Jan. 29 to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, with a firearms specification, and faced a minimum of six years or up to 14 years in prison.
The first three years of the sentence are mandatory based on the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Enlow then ordered another seven years for the aggravated robbery charge to run consecutive to the firearms specification.
Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Eric Finnegan asked Enlow to impose more than the minimum sentence but not the maximum. He said all three defendants started off on the same footing, traveling to Ravenna from Cleveland intending to commit a robbery on Oct. 2, 2012.
When their first target didn't pan out, Aaron J. Garrett, 24, became a victim of opportunity, Finnegan said. Just after 10 p.m. that night, Garrett was taking dinner to his wife at her job as a home health care aide. With him was his 3-year-old son Xyler.
That's when, according to police, Ashford and Torrence Williams, 19, of Cleveland, approached them and pulled two handguns, demanding money.
It was Ashford who grabbed Xyler Garrett away from his father prior to the shooting. Williams shot Aaron Garrett once with a .38-caliber handgun -- the bullet entering his chest and exiting within millimeters of his spine, Finnegan said. He was treated at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna for a punctured lung and a broken rib. Xyler Garrett was not physically injured, but his grandfather said he was emotionally traumatized.
After responding to the shooting, Ravenna police found Ashford and Williams nearby, and also charged Cory Fields, 18, of 4317 Arbeco St., Ravenna Township, with involvement in the robbery.
Though he wasn't the "triggerman," Ashford knew the gun was operational -- Finnegan said police found a spent shell casing inside the revolver Ashford was using, evidence he and his co-defendants test-fired the weapons -- and committed an act of violence, Finnegan said.
Finnegan called it "luck" that "there didn't end up being a death in this case."
Defense attorney Noah Munyer called it "not a very good case" in which Ashford committed a robbery while armed with a gun, but said it was his client's first and only brush with the criminal justice system.
His client got mixed up "with the wrong people at the wrong time," he said. Ashford declined to make a statement in court.
Fields pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, on Feb. 5. Enlow immediately sentenced him to six years in prison. He was given credit for 125 days already served in the Portage County jail awaiting trial, according to court records.
Williams, who is charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated robbery, is scheduled to enter a plea to one or more of those charges on March 11 in Enlow's courtroom, according to court records.
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