MV man sentenced for robbery attempt
Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced a Merrillville man to 10 years for attempted robbery.
The judge ordered Rommell Harris to serve seven years in prison, followed by three years on probation, and encouraged Harris to participate in the Lake County Community Transition Court.
Harris, 24, who admitted he knocked one person unconscious and battered a second individual during a robbery attempt on July 30, 2011, outside Colonel Wheeler Middle School in Crown Point, was caught by police a short time after the crime.
His parents, Jackie Byrd and Rommell Harris Sr., told the judge of their struggle to help their son, who suffers from a mental illness. He has a prior conviction for theft, but failed probation and was expelled from Lake County Community Corrections.
Defense attorney Timothy Bianco argued for leniency in light of his client’s mental health issues. Harris apologized to the judge, his family and the victims.
Deputy prosecutor Catherine Breitweiser-Hurst asked for a 12-year sentence in what she called a well-planned attack that was orchestrated by a woman who distracted the two victims.
An attempted robbery charge punishable by 20 to 50 years was dismissed under terms of the plea agreement.