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Home Invasion Suspects, Victims Appear in Court

By Blake Essig, Aviation and Transportation, Public Affairs Multimedia Reporter, bessig@ktuu.com
Published On: Apr 07 2014 05:54:07 PM AKDT
Updated On: Apr 07 2014 07:52:47 PM AKDT

Three of the four suspects arrested in connection with Sunday morning's home-invasion robbery in East Anchorage appeared in court Monday.

ANCHORAGE -

Three of the four suspects arrested in connection with Sunday morning's home-invasion robbery in East Anchorage appeared in court Monday.

The robbery suspects include James Griffin, 23; Demitri Scott, 21; Jacobi Stephens, 22; and Chantel Rushing, 21. All four are all being charged with one felony count each of burglary and robbery; if convicted, each defendant could receive a maximum of 30 years in prison and $350,000 in fines.

The residents, 24-year-old Jonah Robinson and 25-year-old Amanda Loyd, were both charged with child neglect for raising a child in the presence of a drug operation. In addition, Robinson is charged with third-degree criminal mischief for allegedly kicking out the window of a police cruiser.

According to a charging document from Assistant District Attorney Daniel Shorey, Griffin and Scott broke into a home in the Penland Mobile Home Park at 3240 Penland Pkwy. -- which police discovered held a marijuana grow operation -- at about 4:45 a.m. Sunday. Police saw the four suspects driving away in a black sedan, which they stopped on Bragaw Street; responding officers also found the home's entrance in disarray.

"The inside Arctic entrance door frame was damaged with the deadbolt still locked and the front door leaning up against the sofa," Shorey wrote. "A strong odor of marijuana came from the home."

Robinson told police that he was awakened by banging, which he went to the front door to investigate.

"Robinson stated as he reached the door it was kicked in and a light-skinned male had a handgun and pointed it at him," Shorey wrote. "Robinson said (Loyd) wrestled the pistol away from the light-skinned man and that he took the gun from her and tried to shoot the black male but the gun jammed."

Robinson admitted to selling controlled substances, and was able to identify all four alleged robbers when brought to the traffic stop of their vehicle. In addition, Loyd mentioned a potential motive for the robbery.

"Loyd told police Robinson recently received a settlement from an auto accident and that she believed the suspects knew of this money as they probably heard either her or Robinson talking about it when Robinson was dealing drugs to them," Shorey wrote.

Rushing, who was driving the sedan when police pulled it over, told officers she had been sleeping in the back seat when the other three robbery suspects got out and told her to get in the driver's seat -- then had her drive when they came back looking stressed.

"(Rushing) told police the others freaked out when the police were behind them," Shorey wrote. "(Rushing) said (Griffin) asked (Scott) why didn't he hit the girl? She said the three others were arguing about a gun and (Scott) was telling (Griffin) he screwed up."

While Sunday's case is the third home invasion in the past five weeks, APD spokesperson Dani Myren says this type of crime doesn't happen often.

"Random home-invasion robberies are rare," Myren said. "Now, you certainly increase the likelihood of falling victim to a home-invasion robbery if you engage in criminal activity."

Myren mentioned the age of the child as a factor in the case's child-neglect charges.

"There was a small child, 3 1/2 years old, inside the residence at the time of the home-invasion robbery, and so they were charged with placing that child at risk based on their drug-related activities," Myren said.

Loyd, the only person not to appear in court Monday, made bail and will appear in court within the next week or two.