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Caleb Williams was given a probation and a second chance at a law-abiding life by a judge after pleading guilty to an armed robbery of another teenager in Kent last fall.
His decision to rob three more teens earlier this year will mean he may be 26 before he ever sees a prison from the outside, Judge Laurie Pittman told him this week.
Williams, 18 and now a twice-convicted robber, was sentenced Monday in Common Pleas Court to up to eight years in prison. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of robbery, both second-degree felonies, and three counts of assault, all first-degree misdemeanors, for an incident that took place Jan. 27 at the College Towers apartment complex on Rhodes Road in Kent.
Another eight-year sentence on one of the robbery charges, along with a 1-year sentence for violating his probation and a total of 180 days in jail for assault were run concurrent to the eight-year prison term. Williams was given credit for 130 days already served in jail, ordered to pay $574 in fines and court costs and told to have no contact with his victims, and Pittman urged him to get his GED, take college courses and learn a vocation while in prison.
For his part, Williams apologized to the court, "to the victims and my family."
"I'm a good kid," he told Pittman. "I made a lot of mistakes. I know I messed up big time when you gave me a second chance. I'm tired of messing up."
"The way you're going, you're going to be in orange and white the rest of your life," Pittman replied, referring to the colors of his jail uniform. "Show me that you want to change your life."
Attorney Paul Grant his client was on probation for another robbery — an August incident at the Jordan Court apartments on Franklin Avenue in Kent in which he and another man robbed a Ravenna Township teen at gunpoint — when he committed the crimes in question.
A "significant drug and alcohol problem" was to blame for Williams' actions, Grant said. He added that Williams "doesn't have a lot of memory of what happened" the January night he and 18-year-old Lorenze J. Wright of Kent robbed two men and a teenager of their wallets and cellphones.
Grant said Williams has lived "in fear for himself and his family" since age 7, after protecting them from several abusive men who dated his mother. His victims, Grant said, mostly were "young people looking to buy drugs" from Williams.
Williams is "a very, very angry person taking it out on the wrong people and expressing it in the wrong ways," his attorney said.
Asking for the maximum sentence of 16 years, Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Eric Finnegan said the court "gave (Williams) a gift" when, in August 2016, Pittman accepted his guilty plea on a lesser third-degree felony robbery offense and in October sentenced him to four years on probation.
"He just doesn't get it," Finnegan said.
Wright pleaded guilty in April to two counts of attempted robbery, both fourth-degree felonies, and three counts of assault, all first-degree misdemeanors. He is awaiting sentencing, and faces up to 18 months in prison on each of the felony charges.
From above:..Williams, 18 and now a twice-convicted robber,
*** Q. What high school did this person go to..????