Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Man, 22, will serve life in prison for robbery conviction

Michael D. Reed Jr. was given the max sentence because of his history of committing crime.

Published: Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 11:12 p.m.

An armed robbery has earned a Gainesville man a sentence of life in prison because of his history of committing crime, a prosecutor said.

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Michael D. Reed Jr.

Michael D. Reed Jr., 22, got the sentence after a jury convicted him of armed robbery and other charges for his role in an attack in May 2009.

Reed and two other men used weapons to demand cash from a man outside a home and then fled, leading police on a chase at speeds of 85 to 90 mph from Gainesville to Alachua.

Alachua police deployed stop sticks to puncture all four of the vehicle's tires. The gold Saturn stopped in the 9600 block of U.S. 441, and police apprehended all three suspects.

Reed's co-defendants - Rama T. Thomas Jr., 22, and Blair Brandon Boyd, 22 - accepted plea deals, and Assistant State Attorney Omar Hechavarria said Reed was offered one that would have gotten him a sentence of 20 years.

However, Reed chose a trial and was convicted of robbery with a firearm while masked, fleeing and attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, driving while license suspended, resisting arrest without violence, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and giving a false name to a law enforcement officer.

All three defendants had been released from prison within five months of the robbery. Hechavarria said Reed drew the life sentence because of a law dealing with criminals who commit new offenses after they've been released from prison.

"It means that if you are convicted of an enumerated crime, which robbery with a firearm is, that you will get the maximum sentence," Hechavarria said. "Robbery with a firearm is a life sentence, so the judge had no option but to give him a life sentence."

Hechavarria added that Reed will not be eligible for parole.

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