GOSHEN — “It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?” asked Judge Terry Shewmaker of a 17-year-old who stood in Circuit Court on Thursday morning to be sentenced after pleading guilty to robbery.
Juan Mora, who turned 17 in October, was one of two teenagers arrested after they assaulted a 13-year-old back in June, threatening the child by saying they had a knife and taking the child’s iPod.
Mora and his co-defendant, Marcos Resendiz, 16, were arrested June 6 on a preliminary charge of robbery. Resendiz and Mora told authorities they were in a group of four individuals who were driving around a neighborhood on June 4 when they decided to rob the 13-year-old.
Mora was sentenced to five years in prison. However, his sentence was suspended and instead he will be on reporting probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
The victim’s father, who attended Resendiz’s sentencing hearing, read a letter his child wrote to present at the court for both cases. The letter stated that the child was attending counseling sessions and lived in fear after the assault.
As he did in Resendiz’s hearing, the victim’s father said his family hoped Mora could learn from his mistakes and change in a good way.
Mora apologized to the family multiple times, and asked for an opportunity to start over.
Shewmaker expressed his concern toward the case, as he did with Resendiz. He said the difference of age was disconcerting and asked Mora why he thought it was a good idea to rob a child.
“Well you’re probably really proud of yourself for brutalizing a 13-year-old child, right?” Shewmaker told Mora. “I’m having trouble grasping that concept.”
Shewmaker said he was also concerned about the conflicting statements from Mora and Resendiz, who both said the other made them do it.
“This is so outrageous, this conduct. I’m having a lot of trouble with your behavior,” he said.
The judge listed the fact that Mora had been involved in a fight prior to the robbery, the age of the victim and the disparity in the age between himself and the victim as aggravating circumstances and listed his age and his acceptance of responsibility as mitigating factors for the sentencing.
“It’d better never happen again, understood?” he told Mora.