Teenagers Addie Haylock and Julissa Avila pleaded guilty in
Grand Court on Friday to the daytime robbery at Domino’s Pizza in Savannah last
Haylock, 17, and Avila, who turned 18 while in custody,
were refused bail after their pleas and Justice Alexander Henderson set
sentencing for 3 September to give time for social inquiry reports to be made.
Two other teens charged on the same indictment, Anastasia
Watson and Ariel McLaughlin, previously had their return date set for 6 August.
They are both 17 and also in custody. Neither has yet entered a plea.
In the case on Friday, Justice Henderson asked the two
teens several times why they had committed the offence.
Crown Counsel Alister Cumming read from Haylock’s statement
to police in which she said “I thought it would be fun to rob Domino’s Pizza.”
The judge commented, “So she did it for the thrill of it.”
Mr. Cumming objected to bail, arguing that armed robbery is
so serious that a custodial sentence was inevitable. He pointed out details to
show the robbery had been planned. The robbers were masked, wore socks on their
hands and waved machetes while demanding money. After obtaining around $300 and
two bottles of soda, they drove off in a relative’s vehicle.
Attorney Ben Tonner spoke for Haylock, saying her month in
custody had been an extremely sobering experience. She hadn’t given the matter
a lot of thought beforehand, he said, but since the incident she had time to
Mr. Tonner said Haylock was working, earning $200 every two
weeks, and was studying at UCCI.
Attorney Lucy Organ told the court that Avila had said in
an interview she didn’t know why she had done what she did, but it was stupid.
A death in her family in January had been greatly upsetting. She was now full
of remorse about the robbery and realised the long-term implications of what
she had done, Ms Organ said.
“What did she think would happen to her if she was caught?”
the judge asked.
Ms Organ said Avila simply didn’t know. Mr. Tonner
suggested the defendants thought they wouldn’t get caught.
In refusing bail, the judge noted that both teens were
studying at university level and appeared to be of normal if not above average
intelligence. He said each had advanced a suggestion that she didn’t understand
the consequences of her act, but that could hardly be realistic.
“Everybody on this island is aware that we are having a
veritable plague of armed robberies and that severe sentences can be expected
for anyone convicted of such an act,” he said.
Factors such as their guilty plea, previous good character
and age would be taken into account when they are sentenced, the judge
indicated, but in his view custodial sentences were virtually inevitable and
they could just as well start serving them.
“I must also take account of the public interest,” Justice
Henderson said. “I take judicial notice that there is a veritable plague of
armed robberies on this island and the public expects, quite legitimately, in
my view, that those charged — much less convicted — with armed robbery, in
cases where the papers show [a case to answer], should not be granted bail. I
do not suggest there is an automatic rule, but I suggest that the circumstances
would have to be exceptional for bail to be justified.”
The judge concluded by again noting “the complete lack of any rational
explanation for why they committed this offence.”