Moments before sentencing Kyree Jordan on Wednesday to five years in prison for an armed robbery, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Paul Weinstein asked the 19-year-old Washington, D.C., man how he’d gotten caught up with gang members.
“I made mistakes,” Jordan said.
“I can tell you’re not dumb,” Weinstein told Jordan before sentencing him. “The only dumb part [of you] was getting involved in this crap.”
Weinstein ordered Jordan to serve the five years in a state prison. He also sentenced Jordan to an additional 20 years, but suspended that portion, and ordered him to be on probation for five years.
“He’s satisfied with the agreement negotiated for him,” said Timothy Clarke, Jordan’s attorney, of the sentence.
Jordan was one of three people in or connected to the Maple Avenue Crew, responsible for an armed robbery in Takoma Park on Jan. 1.
Police identified Joshua Baylor, 20, of Severn, and Daquan Tyler, 20, of Silver Spring as the two other suspects in the crime. Baylor pleaded guilty to armed robbery in July; a jury convicted Tyler of armed robbery and other charges on Tuesday.
Prosecutors and court records detailed the crime like this:
On Jan. 1, just after 11 p.m., three men were walking on Cedar Avenue toward the Takoma Metro Station, when two men approached them, pointed guns at them and ordered them on the ground.
One of the men warned the victims that if they did not give up their money, the robbers would “blast” them, court records show.
Today, months later, “My mind will replay the events. I’ll just keep thinking about the event, thinking if I could have done things differently,” said David, one of the victims, reached by phone. The 26-year-old man, who lives in D.C. now, asked to be identified only by his first name.
The evening was warm for January, he said. The two men he was with had flown to D.C. from Vietnam, where they had been working. They came to D.C. to get married and had tied the knot three days before, he said.
When the trio was just blocks from the Metro, the two men approached them, screaming at them and holding handguns with red laser sights attached, David said.
“I didn’t know what was going on. I thought it might be a post-New Year’s prank. It was New Year’s Day,” he said.
The criminals’ audacity perplexed him, he said.
“In my mind, it was a risky place to attempt a crime in general. There are people around, and the police often hang out near that 7-Eleven, which is a block away,” he said.
The crime was over in minutes. The men sprinted off after grabbing the wallets of the three victims.
David said he didn’t expect the investigation to go anywhere, but minutes after the robbers fled, Baylor used the debit and credit cards of another victim to buy two “Arizona brand drinks,” at a nearby 7-Eleven, according to court records.
Police said they pulled surveillance footage from the credit card purchases to identify Baylor, a member of the Maple Avenue Crew. He was arrested on Feb. 20, and told detectives that he was the look-out while Jordan and Tyler committed the robbery, according to charging documents.
Police had arrested Tyler on an unrelated auto theft charge less than a week before, according to charging documents.
In May, after police arrested Jordan, the case took another turn when investigators discovered that Tyler had tried to get his friends to stop Baylor from testifying in court, according to court records. Police found a photo on Jordan’s phone of a letter Tyler wrote to Jordan on the back of his charging documents. The letter asked Jordan to stop Baylor from testifying.
Tyler also made two calls from jail in March in which he asked friends to tell Baylor not to testify, court records show.
“The system doesn’t work without witnesses,” said Jessica Zarrella, one of the assistant state’s attorneys who prosecuted Baylor, Jordan, and Tyler.
“It’s offensive to us that someone would commit a crime and would try to elude justice by trying to intimidate a witness,” she aded.
On Tuesday, a jury convicted Tyler of 10 counts of armed robbery, assault, firearm-related charges, and witness intimidation. He faces up to 75 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Baylor pleaded guilty to armed robbery on July 24. He faces up to five years in prison.