In June, two McLean men pleaded guilty to robbery after barging into a Centreville home with some serious weapons. Last week in Fairfax County Circuit Court, they received suspended sentences.
Although stepbrothers Michael T. Little and Andre Johnson could have each received up to 20 years in prison for this crime, their attorneys were able to obtain plea agreements for both of them. But the man who had to officially pronounce their sentences — head Circuit Court Judge Michael McWeeny — was not particularly happy about it.
"I am going to follow the recommendation," he told Little, standing before him in court last Thursday, July 20. "But I'm a little concerned that you and your stepbrother have a long-standing history of criminal activity."
Little, 27, and Andre Johnson, 28, both live at 6317 Old Dominion Drive. And their most recent offense occurred Jan. 11, around 1 a.m., in the 6200 block of Summer Pond Drive in the Centre Ridge community.
According to police, Johnson, Little and a female knocked on the door of an apartment there and, when someone answered, they "forced their way into the apartment, wielding a gun, a bat and a knife."
When they entered their pleas, June 6, in Circuit Court, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kelly Pearson, prosecuting Little, said the trio went to that location to buy drugs. "When [the victims] didn't meet [Little] in the parking lot as previously arranged, he went up to the apartment," she said. "Then, the defendant, Johnson and [the woman] restrained the victims with a phone cord."
AFTERWARD, said Pearson, the intruders stole items from one of the victims, including a cell phone, keys and gold chains. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Camille Turner, prosecuting Johnson, presented the same scenario in his case. She, too, said the crime stemmed from a drug purchase gone bad and the defendants "burst into the apartment."
But the story didn't end there. Police said that, following the robbery, one victim convinced one of the suspects to accompany him back to his apartment, also in that same block, where he had money.
However, once the two men were in the second apartment, said police, "The victim, a 25-year-old man who works as a security guard, pulled a gun on the suspect, handcuffed him and called police." Little and Johnson were then arrested and charged with robbery.
On March 27 in General District Court, Judge William Minor sent the robbery charges against both Little and Johnson to the grand jury. They were indicted May 22, and both pleaded guilty before McWeeny on June 6.
Prior to accepting their pleas, he made sure they were entering them voluntarily, and because they were, indeed, guilty as charged. They returned, July 20, for sentencing and walked out of court as free men.
Little and Johnson each received three years in prison, with all that time suspended, plus three years of active probation. "As a condition of your probation, you must enter and complete a substance-abuse treatment program," said McWeeny. He then advised them that, as convicted felons, samples of their blood would be taken for entry into Virginia's DNA database.
The judge also gave them both a warning. "You were convicted in 1993, and now, here you are again as co-defendants," he said. "And I can tell you that, if you get into trouble again, there won't be a suspended sentence."