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Two sentenced in home invasion

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Chiefland man in court July 6

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Two of the three men charged in the armed home invasion of a residence on County Road 335 — Northeast 75th Street — outside Williston in February have been sentenced while a third will be sentenced on July 6.

Craig Pitts, 20, or Morriston and Stefan Lernard Lattimore, 26, of Gainesville, were sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years probation by 8th Judicial Circuit Judge David A. Glant. The maximum sentence for the armed robbery home invasion charge is 30 years and a $10,000 fine.

Sentencing for Hillary C. Henderson, 20, of Chiefland, was delayed due to a glitch. Henderson faces a second charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He faces sentencing under the state's 10-20-Life law which sets minimum mandatory sentences when a firearm is used in the commission of a crime. 

Henderson's plea deal calls for him to serve a minimum mandatory sentence of three years and a total of 10 years on the two of the charges. But state law mentions serving sentences consecutively rather than concurrently. Because Henderson could face serving longer than 10, years the sentencing was put off to work out the problem.

Public Defender Michael Bryant told Glant that his client, Pitts was abusing drugs at the time of the incident and while he was not initially cooperative with authorities, he did eventually become so.  "He is highly remorseful," Bryant said.

One of the victims in the robbery is Pitts' mother Donna Taylor. She was working as a home health care worker in the 81-year-old resident's home the trio  robbed. Taylor told officers that when she woke up, two men were in her bedroom. She said one of them, Henderson, pointed a gun at her as the two men demanded to know about a safe and prescription drugs in the home. 

Taylor told Glant her son did wrong but said the sentence was excessive. She detailed how the incident had cost her and her family longtime friendships and employment. 

The judge told Pitts his two previous arrests on burglary charges were serious violations of the law. "And your mother was inside the home. The family that trusted you and your mother, that was the family that you picked," he said.

Glant said, "I was tettering on the edge of not accepting the recommendation of sentencing." 

Lattimore's attorney, Public Defender Phaladya Dean, said, "He has a 2-year-old daughter who will have to live with her grandmother in North Carolina."

Glant was blunt with Lattimore: "The cost to your young daughter is that you will be in prison for all of her young years ... You have victimized your own daughter."

He noted that Lattimore had previous convictions for aggravated battery, and cocaine possession and sale.

Henderson's attorney Michael Heinz asked for a two week delay in sentencing when his turn came, saying Henderson had  reservations about the plea deal. Glant gave Henderson the lunch hour to meet with his attorney.

When Henderson returned to court at 1:15 p.m. Glant was in the process of sentencing when he noticed the problem.

After some discussion at the bench and in chambers, Glant returned to put off the sentencing to July 6.