Teen robber pleads guilty minutes before trial - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Teen robber pleads guilty minutes before trial

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A teenager charged with numerous counts of armed robbery and house burglary had his day in Hinds County Circuit Court Monday.

As jury selection was getting underway in John Caston's trial, the teen cut a deal avoiding a trial.

The 17 year old wiped away tears while being escorted from the courtroom after entering a guilty plea to 10 counts of armed robbery.

The plea came minutes before a jury was to be seated in his trial.

Caston is accused of being one of several young men who went on crime sprees, kicking in the doors of homes in south Jackson and Clinton.

Investigators said they burst into 5 homes victimizing mainly Hispanic residents.

"I apologize your honor and tell my family I love them," Caston said as he stood before Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bill Gowan following the sentencing.

Judge Bill Gowan sentenced Caston to 30 years on each of the 10 counts.

The Hinds County District Attorney's Office recommended that the sentence be served concurrently in exchange for testifying against his co-defendants.

Caston told police that last July, while 16 years old, he was among a group of robbers who burst into homes holding residents at gunpoint while stealing electronics, cash and other valuables.

"He committed several home invasions and then got a bond, and then did the same thing again," Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith said.

The D.A. said the sentence sends the message that they're serious about home invasions.

"There are other co-defendants who are charged with similar or the same things," Smith said.  "Some were shot during the process of invading a home, and so again we're very happy that the outcome was 30 years."

"I truly believe my client was a good kid, making bad decisions," Caston's attorney Aafram Sellers said.

The defense counsel said his client is young and made mistakes that come with life altering consequences.

"He admitted to his involvement. He owned up and took responsibility," Sellers said. "It is truly disheartening to see such a young man have to go to prison and hopefully it serves a lesson to other young men."

Caston will serve time at Parchman and without parole, he will be 47 years old when his sentence ends.

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