A 15-year-old Onondago County, N.Y. youth was labeled a felon and sentenced Aug. 29 to two to six years of incarceration for an armed robbery that netted him and an accomplice seven cents.
County Court Judge William Walsh refused to treat Anthony Stewart of Syracuse as a youthful offender during sentencing, noting the boy pleaded not guilty “despite a mountain of evidence,” according to nydailynews.com.
Stewart, 15, and Skyler Ninham, 16, faced charges stemming from the robbery of a 73 year-old man who was punched in an assault that broke his glasses, knocked down and kicked before surrendering the seven cents in his pockets to his assailants, who were armed with BB guns. Ninham pleaded guilty, identifying Stewart as his accomplice.
“If you admitted it like a man, then I would have sentenced you exactly as I did Mr. [Skyler] Ninham. But you still denied committing a crime, despite a mountain of evidence,” the judge declared in a sentence that labels Stewart a felon for life.
When arrested, Stewart, according to a police report, confessed to the crime but later recanted and pleaded not guilty. He was convicted of first-degree robbery in July.
Ninham pleaded guilty two days after Stewart was convicted, and was sentenced as a juvenile offender, according to the Huffington Post, drawing a minimum sentence of one year in a state facility after which his record will be sealed.
Stewart, Syracuse.com reports, is to spend at least two years and possibly up to six years in juvenile detention and will have a felony record.
His attorney, Laurin Haddad, voiced disappointment at the judge's decision.
“Now this boy is going to come out a convicted felon,” Haddad said, according to nydailynews.com. “He's going to be refused jobs and loans. Now he's a liability to society. It's a shame that this happened over 7 cents.”