A judge granted a 23-year-old Joplin man a suspended sentence in a home-invasion robbery attempt involving his firing of a handgun when he was unable to get the occupants to hand over any money.
Circuit Judge David Mouton assessed Bradley D. Powell seven years on a conviction for first-degree burglary at a sentencing hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court but suspended execution of the sentence and placed him on supervised probation for five years in lieu of a prison term.
Powell tried to rob two young men, Marquon K. Fantroy-Pullum and Adam T. Grover, on May 8 of this year by kicking in the front door of their residence in the 1800 block of South Indiana Avenue and entering the home armed with a handgun and demanding money. Police say the occupants knew Powell and recognized his voice despite the mask he was wearing and later identified him to officers. He was arrested about 13 minutes after the failed robbery attempt.
Powell pleaded guilty to the burglary charge Sept. 16 in a plea agreement dismissing related charges of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action, and capping the sentence he might receive at no more than seven years. He was facing up to 15 years on the burglary count and even more prison time had he been convicted of first-degree robbery.
Nonetheless, public defender Joseph Collier told the judge before sentencing that the possibility his client could be headed to prison with no prior offenses "shocked" him. He said Powell was intoxicated at the time of the robbery attempt and "doesn't really know what happened." The more than six months that Powell has spent in jail awaiting resolution of his case has been more than adequate time for him to see the error of his ways, Collier said.
"No further prison time will help him learn that lesson," the attorney told the judge.
Mouton initially expressed some reservations about whether Powell actually had learned his lesson sufficiently to be granted probation.
"It kind of seems like there's something missing when you later say: 'Well, I was drunk and don't even remember what happened,'" the judge told the defendant.
Mouton commented that it was fortunate no one was injured in the commission of the crime. Ultimately the judge decided to place the defendant on probation with an underlying prison sentence should he fail to keep the conditions of that probation.