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Foursome sentenced in home invasion case

JACKSON – Four young adults will combine to spend nearly 50 years behind bars after being found guilty in a home invasion case that occurred last year.

During the July 12 term of Northampton County Criminal Superior Court, the cases of the State of North Carolina vs. Laron Chez Eason Jr., 22 of Edenton; Crystal Jo Little, 20 of Roanoke Rapids; Karon Antwain McDonald, 20 of Edenton; and Jason Maurice Robinson, 19 of Rich Square, were set for trial by the District 6B Attorney Valerie Asbell. All of the defendants pled guilty at that trial.

Eason pled to First Degree Burglary and received a 61-83 month active sentence. He also entered a guilty plea to

Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and was given a 23-28 month active sentence to run at expiration of first sentence. His total time behind bars was set at 7-to-9 years.

Little also entered a guilty plea to the identical charges and faces 5-to-7 years of incarceration. For burglary, she was sentenced to an active term of 64-86 months. She received a 25-39 month sentence on the conspiracy charge, suspended for 36 months of supervised probation. Probationary sentence is start immediately after being released from the active sentence.

McDonald pled guilty to First Degree Burglary (61-83 months) and to Attempted Armed Robbery (61-83 months to run at the expiration of above sentence). His total time behind bars will be 10-to-13 years.

Robinson’s plea was the same as McDonald’s. He will spend 77-102 months in prison on the burglary charge and another 77-102 months for Attempted Armed Robbery. His total active time behind bars is 12-to-17 years.

The facts of the case showed that on June 22, 2009 the home of Betty Edwards, then age 84 of Seaboard, was invaded by three masked men armed with a shotgun. The three men were brought to the home and aided in the home invasion by a fourth co-defendant, later determined to be Little.

Edwards, who was home with her two granddaughters, Joanna Boone and Betty D. Edwards, were watching television when three men gained entry into the home by kicking in the front door. Masked and armed with a shotgun, the three men demanded money from the women. Boone was able to flee to another part of the home and contacted police. As Betty D. Edwards attempted to flee, she was forced to the ground at gun point and tackled. The defendants who entered the house were later identified as Eason, McDonald and Robinson; the female driver was identified as Little.

“This case had a traumatic effect on each of the victims actually in the house and for the loved ones of these individuals,” Asbell stated. “I am so glad that no one was physically hurt in this case although the emotional toll on the victims will continue probably for the rest of their lives.”

Asbell added that due to the fast reaction of the victim and her Med Alert system, law enforcement officers were notified almost immediately.

Asbell stated that she assigned this case to Assistant District Attorney Kim Gourrier.

“Ms. Gourrier did an excellent job preparing this case for trial and preparing the family of the victims for the possibility of this case going to trial,” Asbell said. “I am very proud of Ms. Gourrier and proud of her commitment to the victims of Northampton County and this District. I would also like to thank Chief George Reed of the Seaboard Police Department who was the investigating officer in this case.”

Asbell added, “Our home is where we should feel safe and actually be safe. I am not going to tolerate this type of behavior and will seek active sentences for people who choose to violate the sanctity of our homes.”

The Edwards family was present during the court proceedings and several family members spoke on behalf of the victims.

In a statement after the court proceedings, the Edwards family stated “We would like to express our sincere appreciation for all of the hard work, time and effort put forth by Chief George Reed of the Seaboard Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office. We would especially like to thank Assistant District Attorney Kim Gourrier for her tireless efforts in working with us to bring this case to a satisfactory resolution. Hopefully the sentences handed out by the court sent a clear message that home invasions are serious crimes and will not be tolerated.”