Thursday, December 14, 2017

Carreras Sentenced for January Armed Robbery of Green Bay Walgreens

Joshua Carreras Sentenced for January Armed Robbery at Walgreens Pharmacy

Green Bay, WI - It was an emotional scene at the Brown County Courthouse Thursday for the sentencing hearing of 24-year-old Joshua Carreras, the suspect in the January 17 armed robbery of Walgreens Pharmacy at 1401 E. Mason St in Green Bay. 

Sitting in the second row, Carreras' family held one another with tears in their eyes as they listened to the State's recommendation of a maximum sentence. The pharmacist whose life was placed in jeopardy by the defendant sat in the front row of the courtroom, awaiting the sentencing from Judge Zakowski.

On October 30, Carreras entered a guilty plea for one count of Armed Robbery and one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Carreras admitted to the armed robbery and stated he understands and appreciates the victim's situation. He stated that the robbery was a result of a substance abuse problem and being ill from withdrawal caused him to commit the crime.

Carreras' attorney, Raj Singh, spoke to the court regarding the pre-sentencing investigation, disputing that there was a round found in the chamber of the gun Carreras had when placed under arrest. In a written statement to the court, the pharmacist stated Carreras showed him the bullets, slapped the clip into the gun, and loaded a bullet into the chamber, pointing the gun directly at him while demanding prescription drugs. Carreras not only put the life of the pharmacist in danger, but also the law enforcement officers who were led on a foot chase to capture him.

The State of Wisconsin requested a total sentence of 10 years in confinement and 10 years extended supervision. Attorney Singh pleaded to the court, stating he was "troubled" by 9-10 years of confinement because "freedom is life and life is freedom for American citizens." As part of the pre-sentencing investigation and speaking with Singh, Carreras requested the court grant him 5 years in confinement and 10 years extended supervision.

Prior to Judge Zakowski handing down the sentence, Singh spoke of the support system available to the defendant and asked for the members of Carreras' family in the courtroom to rise. Twelve family members rose, 8 adults and 4 children.

Joshua made a statement to the court, "I would like to apologize to the pharmacist, I would like to apologize to my family. I know I made a bad decision, a bad choice, and I'm here to correct that in any way."

After the state and defense made their arguments for sentencing, Judge Zakowski spoke to the court.  "Both, um, both parties presented their case well. You know, I just had this drug case and I know how bad substance abuse can be and lead to violent crime. I talked about sexual assault and homicide. The one I forgot is armed robbery. Armed robbery is a terrible crime. I believe that..and it doesn't surprise me that your family is here. I read about them, nice family, and quite frankly it said you had a fun childhood growing up. Joshua, you're lucky a lot of people came in for you. The last person here had a terrible childhood. Unfortunately you got into gang activity and you had this substance abuse problem and that's not an excuse, but that is what got you involved in going over to the pharmacy. The problem is you can have a whole courtroom or whole stadium full of family support, but then you have one victim who was robbed with a gun and that's important. There is one person I know, that worked at a bank and she will never be the same...all she sees is the barrel of that gun. Unless you're in that position, I don't think you will understand it."

Judge Zakowski continued, "The victim here stated that not a day goes by that he doesn't think about how he may not have made it home to his family. You think of the tragedies in America and how some people never make it home to your family. You put him and yourself in such a terrible situation, then you read about the chase, and other people who heard the chase and the yelling for you to get down. It's really a terrible scene to visualize, even just reading about it."

Zakowski stated they have to take into account Carreras' past and the seriousness of the offense. Carreras' suggestion of 5 years in confinement and 10 years extended supervision would make sense if he had not had a violent criminal history or prior contact with law enforcement. Carreras was previously charged with a sexual assault, criminal damage to property, and two disorderly conduct cases (both with use of a dangerous weapon).

Zakowski made it clear that this is such a serious offense that we need to make the sentence fit the crime. To show others out there that if they commit a crime like this, there will be severe punishment.

The judge took into account all the factors that attorney Singh discussed, including the substance abuse and challenge incarceration programs and mitigating circumstances.

The sentence imposed on Carreras is a total of 20 years in the Wisconsin Prison System (10 years in prison and 10 years extended supervision). On count 1 (Armed Robbery) he will serve 9 years of initial confinement and 7 years extended supervision. On count 2 (Possession of Firearm by Felon), he will serve 1 year in confinement and 3 years extended supervision. The sentences for each count are consecutive to each other. 

1 comment:

  1. Time to pay your choices forward ... and counsel the fellow inmates that you will serve with who will be released before you? Or you can carry on with the "thug" life? #sad