(WSB photo of getaway car stopped in Arbor Heights, August 21, 2013)
We’re back at the King County Courthouse, where Superior Court Judge Dean Lum has just sentenced two of the three men arrested for last August’s night of armed street robberies in Arbor Heights (where they were caught thanks in part to alert witnesses), Fauntleroy, and Beacon Hill. (As reported here last month, all three pleaded guilty.)
First, 22-year-old Najib A. Aden, who had not been in jail since , as he had posted bail.
Judge Lum sentenced him to the 68 months – high end of the range – that were recommended as part of the plea agreement, with a not-yet-determined amount of restitution, and 18 months of community custody (probation) when he gets out of prison.
No victims spoke; his lawyer and the aunt who raised him spoke on Aden’s behalf, saying she had taught him not to harm anyone, and that this was a sudden turn in his life. The defendant himself spoke in a barely audible voice, saying that he wanted “to apologize to all the victims.”
The judge said, “I’m puzzled about how you got involved in this very serious situation. … At a minimum, you shouldn’t have been hanging around these guys at all … this is what happens when you involve yourself with the wrong people. … Quite a lesson for you to learn.”
As deputies led Aden away, several friends/relatives wept loudly.
About an hour and a half later came the sentencing of 19-year-old Abdulkamir A. Ahmed, who has remained in jail since the August robberies. He too was recommended for a 68-month sentence, followed by 18 months of community custody. A full courtroom of supporters witnessed the sentencing; no victims spoke, though the judge and defense lawyer made brief mention of a letter from one of the victims. Ahmed’s lawyer said, “He is more than these crimes he has (committed),” noting that the defendant had no record and was “working, going to school, and doing volunteer work” before that night of robberies. The lawyer said all three co-defendants were “good kids who would never have done anything like this on their own” but somehow combined to “do something they’ll regret for the rest of their life.” A cousin, Mohamed Mohamed, spoke on behalf of the supporters, saying that he had gotten in trouble years ago but had changed his life, and told the judge he would be there to serve as a mentor when Ahmed got out.
Judge Lum said the community turnout is important, but also said he didn’t want to downplay the severity of the offenses. “This is your wake-up call,” he said, before announcing that he would follow the sentencing recommendation of 68 months.
Sentencing of the third defendant, 22-year-old Hassan I. Abdirizak, was postponed; that happened before we got to the courtroom, so we don’t yet know why, nor do we know the rescheduled date yet. None of the three are West Seattle residents.