Prison time for 3 Crow Peak robbers
DEADWOOD — Three of four Spearfish residents involved in the armed robbery of a male victim Nov. 17, 2017 at the Crow Peak Trailhead parking lot received prison sentences from 4th Circuit Court Judge Michelle Comer at the Lawrence County Courthouse Thursday.
McKaila Gravelle, 20, Corbin Mullen, 24, and Drevon Perry, 22, were indicted as co-defendants Nov. 29 and pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon July 12.
In exchange for the guilty plea, two counts of commission of a felony while armed with a firearm were dismissed by the prosecution.
Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald recommended lengthy penitentiary sentences of 15 years for each of the defendants on each of the charges.
“This is an appropriate punishment for crimes such as this,” Fitzgerald said, adding that the consequences of the crimes committed must be a deterrent to other people. “A message needs to be sent out to the community that this is unacceptable by any measure.”
Fitzgerald also pointed out that any time a firearm is used in a crime, the potential to escalate into violence is 10-fold.
“Someone could have been murdered very easily,” Fitzgerald said.
Gravelle received a four-year prison sentence — 12 years, with eight suspended, and credit for 20 days served on each count, the sentences to run concurrent. She was also ordered to pay $104 in court costs and $4,577 in court appointed attorney fees.
Gravelle, who is said to have planned the robbery and is now pregnant, accused the victim of raping her and that claim is how she involved the other defendants in the scheme. The victim, whom she met online and drove several hours to see her, is said to have brought drugs, alcohol, and was expecting sex.
“I apologize for my actions. I understand that my actions are fully unacceptable,” Gravelle said.
Defense attorney Joe Kosel argued that it is questionable if lengthy penitentiary sentences act as a deterrent to others, preventing them from committing the same types of crimes. He also reiterated that no one was hurt in this case.
“There is no discounting the severity of this case … but it pales in comparison to a lot of aggravated assaults we see where people are injured for the rest of their lives,” Kosel said.
Mullen, who brandished a loaded .45 handgun, shot in the direction of the victim twice to scare him, robbed him, ordered him to kneel, and then Mullen began reciting The Lord’s Prayer, received a six-year prison sentence – 14 years, with eight years suspended and credit for 95 days served on the robbery charge and 12 years, with six years suspended on the aggravated assault charge, the sentences to run concurrent. He was also ordered to pay court costs of $104 and $2,409.14 in court appointed attorney fees.
“This is very serious criminal behavior the defendant chose to involve himself in,” Fitzgerald said.
Pastor Dr. Mark Chaplain provided witness testimony on Mullen’s behalf, saying that since serving jail time, he has been involved heavily in the church.
“He has learned a lot from what has taken place, here, and didn’t intend to murder anybody,” said Defense Attorney Tim Barnaud. “This isn’t a group of hardened criminals and killers. They just don’t understand how serious a thing it is they did.”
“Throughout this whole case, I have turned my whole life around,” Mullen said. “I do take full responsibility for my actions. The amount of shame I have caused, not only for my family, but for my friends, doesn’t make me look like a good gentleman. I would like to apologize repeatedly to the victim in this.”
Perry, who wore a ski mask and brandished a hatchet during the robbery, received a one-year prison sentence – five years, with four suspended and credit for 160 days served on each count, the sentences to run concurrent. He was also ordered to pay court costs of $104.
“Mr. Perry is an aider and abettor in the sense of the law,” Fitzgerald said.
“He never swung the hatchet, never injured anyone with the hatchet,” said Defense Attorney Mark Marshall, describing Perry as a troubled young man.
“I shouldn’t have been involved with these people,” Perry said, adding he thought they were going to settle something. “It wasn’t planned as a robbery. It wasn’t planned as a murder. I didn’t hear about that until court. I know I shouldn’t have done that. I would never do that again. I can’t say how incredibly sorry I am.”
Comer explained that Perry’s sentence was less, based on the scope of the investigation, his time served in jail (from the time of the incident through April 26), his pre-sentence investigation, and information specific to him.
All three were remanded to the custody of the Lawrence County Sheriff, immediately following sentencing.
A fourth co-defendant in the case, Cormac Cremean, 22, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing Sept. 9 before Comer. Cremean faces charges of first-degree robbery, or in the alternative, second-degree robbery, two counts of commission of a felony while armed with a firearm, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Police were informed Cremean stayed in the parking lot and was supposed to go through the victim’s vehicle to find certain items to steal.
Cremean allegedly admitted in a police interview he was present during the robbery, sitting in the parking lot. He said he entered the victim’s vehicle to get Gravelle’s cell phone and was also present during the planning of the robbery.
Court documents indicate that law enforcement was dispatched to Higgins Gulch at approximately 7:52 a.m. Nov. 17, 2017, responding to the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred.
Police met with the 32-year-old male victim who said he had met Gravelle on a dating website and came there to meet her. The victim said Gravelle had asked him to go for a hike on Crow Peak that morning. Once they parked in the parking lot, they walked to the trail map sign 100 feet up the walking path. Hearing his car horn honking, the victim started to walk back to his vehicle and was allegedly met by two males wearing ski masks.
Mullen held a handgun and Perry held a hatchet. They told the victim they were going to rob him and shot the gun twice, hitting near his feet. The victim said he gave the two his credit card and cell phone. The victim was then sprayed in the face with mace and told to turn around and get on his knees.
Mullen then pushed the gun into the back of the victim’s head and said that he should just “kill him now” and then hit the victim over the head with the gun.
Gravelle, a former BHSU student, told Mullen that she would go with them as a hostage.
During her police interview, Gravelle said she had met the victim online and she thought he had taken her marijuana the last time he was at her apartment. Gravelle also admitted her part in the planning of the robbery and luring the victim out into the forest. Gravelle told police they were planning on stealing the victim’s drugs and money.
In a traffic stop with Mullen’s vehicle, a .45 caliber handgun was collected, with the handgun’s ammunition matching the caliber of casings found on scene.
During a police interview, Perry told police the hatchet and stolen alcohol was at his house and admitted to having the hatchet during the robbery. He also told police the victim’s credit card was thrown out of the window as they drove back to Spearfish.
A search warrant executed at Perry’s house turned up the two black winter masks, hatchet and stolen alcohol.
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