North Freedom man gets 2 years in prison for armed robbery
A North Freedom man will spend two years in prison for participating in an armed robbery described by his attorney as a “drug deal gone bad.”
After his release, 25-year-old William Lindsey Harris must spend an additional six years under the supervision of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and undergo treatment recommended by his probation agent.
Harris pleaded no contest to felony armed robbery in September and appeared Friday in Sauk County Circuit Court for sentencing, facing up to 40 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Harris and another man, 27-year-old Fitchburg resident Dejhone D. Stubblefield, robbed two victims at gunpoint in broad daylight Aug. 28, 2017, in a West Baraboo restaurant parking lot.
During what was supposed to be a drug buy, Stubblefield held a pistol that belonged to Harris to the head of one of the victims. Harris grabbed a purse and the two men fled.
Investigators later learned that a debit card taken during the robbery was swiped at a gas station near the Bluffview Estates mobile home park, where Harris lived.
A partial license plate and vehicle description provided by the victims also helped investigators locate the two suspects, who were arrested the same day at the trailer park.
In court Friday, Sauk County Assistant District Attorney Dennis Ryan requested a sentence of four years prison and eight years of supervised release. He described Harris as a “con man” who is in the “criminally delusional grip of believing he can talk his way out of anything.”
Ryan quoted from a report that was prepared by a corrections worker who interviewed Harris. Such reports, called pre-sentence investigations, are intended to inform the judge about a defendant’s life history prior to sentencing.
Harris tried to lay blame for the incident at the feet of his accomplice, Ryan said, while minimizing his own involvement. “We have a plea and 16 pages of ‘yeah but, yeah but, yeah but,’” Ryan said, adding that he believed Harris was the mastermind behind the robbery.
Harris’ attorney, Roger Klopp of Lodi, pushed back against Ryan’s characterization of his client and the pre-sentence report, saying it was not all negative.
Klopp said the report also said Harris was a caring father with a good family, a desire to better himself, and a minimal record. He said it was common psychological behavior for defendants to minimize and rationalize their wrongdoing when caught.
“It doesn’t mean he isn’t accepting responsibility for being involved in this crime,” Klopp said, noting that Harris’ accomplice, Stubblefield, is the one who wielded a gun during the robbery.
Speaking softly, Harris told the judge that he accepts responsibility for his actions. “I apologize to my family and to everyone,” he said.
Before handing down her sentence, Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Barrett endorsed the prosecutor’s view of Harris’ pre-sentence report. She said the document suggested Harris had an unrealistic view of himself and his role in the robbery.
“I do find that Mr. Harris has an explanation for everything that puts blame elsewhere,” Barrett said.
In addition to his sentence in the armed robbery, Harris was ordered to pay $443 and provide a DNA sample in a separate case involving a charge of felony marijuana possession.
In May, Stubblefield reached an agreement with prosecutors in which he will serve eight months in jail followed by five years of probation. If he does not successfully complete terms of the deal, he could wind up back in court facing three years in prison.