Silver Spring man sentenced to eight years in prison for Wheaton robberies.

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

PG County Criminal defense

St. John Barned-Smith,
Posted: 12/12/2013 2:32 PM

Who was Joseph R. Urrutia — a dangerous career criminal or a man overcoming an addiction-filled past?

Defense attorneys and prosecutors wrangled over that question Thursday, before a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge sentenced Urrutia to eight years in prison on armed robbery charges.

In January, police arrested Urrutia, 48, of Benson Terrace, and charged him with robbing a Wheaton convenience store and a Capital One bank a few hundred feet apart on Georgia Avenue.

According to prosecutors, Urrutia was a “major career criminal,” with 35 arrests and 25 past convictions. Urrutia stormed into a local business wearing a balaclava — a mask covering most of his head and face — and sunglasses and holding a gun, then assaulted a 62-year-old shopkeeper, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Eric J. Nee.

Soon after, Urrutia robbed the Capital One bank branch, court records show.

Police arrested Urrutia the same day in a barbershop nearby. He was covered in red ink from exploded dye packs that were in bags of money from the bank, police records show.

“He has to prove to the parole board that he’s not a threat to society,” Nee said, asking that Urrutia receive a 16-year sentence.

Urrutia’s attorney, Andrew V. Jezic, said Urrutia’s actions stemmed from a childhood made brutal by abusive parents and from the trauma of watching his twin brother shot to death in front of him.

Despite the dozens of arrests his client had incurred, Jezic said for the most part, Urrutia had been a non-violent offender with convictions for disorderly conduct and loitering.

“He is not the monster the list of charges makes him out to be,” Jezic said.

He said Urrutia had tried to use his time in jail productively by attending therapy and addiction-treatment programs, working as a food preparer, and trying to obtain his GED.

Urrutia, Jezic said, turned his life around after marrying his wife, Nilda, in 2007.

“This is not someone who deep in their soul wants to live an assaultive … life,” he said.

In court, Nilda Urrutia said she married Urrutia — who she had known in her youth — while recuperating in Washington, D.C., after being flown from Iraq in 2003.

He had cared for her and supported her through the many surgeries she had to treat her war wounds, she said.

“He’s been my rock,” she said.

He started to turn his life around, she said, but descended into the grips of addiction to Oxycontin he had been prescribed for back pain.

“Things in the house started disappearing,” she told Mason, at times breaking down as she recalled how he sold her jewelry to fund his drug habit.

“What he did was so stupid and idiotic. I’m so sorry for what he did,” she said.

Joseph Urrutia, who pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery in July, said he committed the robberies in part because he hadn’t believed he was smart enough to get a normal job. It wasn’t until marrying Nilda, he said, that he finally began to believe in himself.

In apologizing for the robberies and everyone who has been affect, he said, “I know I impacted their lives.”

As he imposed the sentence, Mason noted Urrutia’s past and the trauma it had caused. “I can’t ignore the crimes you committed,” he said.

Urrutia likely would be eligible for parole in four years, Mason said, calling the sentence a “last opportunity.”

“If you don’t come to grips with your addiction, if you don’t get the help you need … if you come back before the courts … you may spend the rest of your life in jail,” he said.

sjbsmith@gazette.net



FREE CONSULTATION

(240)292-7200

Locations

Awards

  • Suspect in Custody in Connection With Saturday’s Non-Fatal Shooting in College Park
    Jenare MarriottPrince George’s County Police detectives arrested and charged a suspect in connection with a non-fatal shooting in College Park Saturday evening. The suspect is 26-year-old Jenare Marriott of no fixed address. Detectives are working to identify and arrest a second suspect.On October 14th, at about 8:20 pm, patrol officers were called to the 7500 […]
  • PGPD Searches for Missing Man
    David WhiteThe Prince George’s County Police Department is seeking the public’s help in finding a missing man. He is identified as 46-year-old David Antonio White. He was last seen in the 1200 block of Nalley Road in Landover at about 7:00 am on October 6, 2017.White is described as an African American male, 5’10”, and 203 […]
  • PGPD Investigates Fatal Pedestrian Collision in Seat Pleasant
    The Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit is investigating a fatal pedestrian collision in Seat Pleasant Friday evening. The victim is 63-year-old Wayne Tonio Davis of Kendrick Road in Suitland. The driver of the vehicle that struck Davis remained on the scene. The driver of a second vehicle that collided with the back of the first […]
  • PGPD Searches for Missing Teen
    Update October 15, 2017: Cortney Freeman has been safely located.  Cortney FreemanThe Prince George’s County Police Department is seeking the public’s help in finding a missing teen. She is identified as 15-year-old Cortney Freeman. She was last seen in the 6100 block of Westchester Park Drive in College Park at about 3:30 am on October  10, 2017.Freeman […]
  • Officers Proudly Wearing Badges Marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    It’s estimated that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Almost all of us know someone who is either right now or has in the past bravely battled this disease. In a show of our unwavering support to those affected by breast cancer, Prince George’s County Police Officers are proudly wearing […]
  • Detectives Release Surveillance Video of Thieves Targeting Cars at Gas Station
    Please take a moment to watch this surveillance video from a gas station in Camp Springs. On the video, a thief sneaks up to a car as the unsuspecting driver is pumping gas. Within seconds, the suspect snatches an item from the front seat and then quietly gets back into the getaway car. Two cars […]
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Linkedin