The third man accused in a plot to attack and rob a friend's stepfather was sentenced Friday to three years in prison, the same as the victim's stepson received.
Christopher Cook, 22, stated homeless, showed no reaction as Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Susan Boyer pronounced the sentence Friday morning. As he was led, handcuffed, out of the courtroom, he said to the four people who had come to support him, "Love you guys."
Cook and two other men, Timothy M. Ryan, 22, and Jacob Rowe, 21, both of Marietta, were charged in the Dec. 6 break-in at the Marietta home of Bernard Hurst, Ryan's stepfather. According to prosecutors, Ryan plotted to have Cook and Rowe enter the home and subdue Hurst, after which he would come in and show them where the valuables were. Hurst fought off his attackers, and was injured in the process.
Drug abuse was believed to be a motive for the crime, and all three defendants had histories of drug use.
Ryan pleaded guilty in May to a second-degree felony aggravated burglary charge, and was later sentenced to three years in prison. Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider had recommended longer, but suggested a three-year term for Cook at Friday's sentencing.
"I just didn't think it was fair that this guy do more time than the guy who planned it," Schneider said.
The maximum sentence for both men was eight years.
Cook was originally charged with two first-degree felony counts of aggravated burglary and a second-degree felony count of robbery. He pleaded guilty in August to the robbery charge, in exchange for the other counts being dropped.
Rowe was sentenced to one year in prison Thursday on a third-degree felony charge of robbery. The lesser charge was the result of a deal Rowe struck with prosecutors.
"Back when all of this happened ... I made an offer that if (Rowe and Cook) wanted to testify against the other guy, I would give them a third-degree felony," Schneider said, noting Rowe was the first to accept the offer.
Cook's attorney, Rolf Baumgartel, asked for no prison time, saying his client had no other felonies on his record and had a strong family support system.
"I would ask that he be placed on community control. I think SEPTA would be very beneficial for him," he said.
The SEPTA Correctional Facility in Nelsonville is for non-violent, non-dangerous offenders, and offers chemical dependency programs.
After the hearing, Baumgartel said the sentence Cook received was not unexpected, given that judges generally prefer to treat co-defendants the same.
"It's unfortunate that you have some young kids who did something really stupid," he said.
Cook will serve his sentence in the Orient Correctional Reception Center.