Home invader from Niles given 26 to 50 years in prison

Published 2:34 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2004

By By NORMA LERNER / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS -- A Niles man convicted of 28 felony counts of crime against Cass County seniors and the elderly will spend the next 26 to 50 years in prison following sentencing in Cass County Circuit Court on Friday morning.
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Jonathon Ray Haynes, 29, subjected Cass County to a summer of terror in 2003 when he and four others assaulted, duct-taped, robbed and terrorized the elderly in Michiana.
Fitz told the court that law enforcement was vigorous in response to the terror streak in Milton and Howard townships. The crime also spread into Berrien County and St. Joseph County, Ind. "They were able to stop defendants before physical harm was done. The defendant did come forth and admitted to helping break the case. He was a ring leader. Many times he had possession of a gun. It will send a clear message to Cass County we will protect our seniors," Fitz asserted.
Victim William Bartak spoke on behalf of his elderly parents of the robbery that took place at their home at 2682 Center Street in Howard Township on July 5. He said his parents were forced to lay down on the floor side-by-side and were taped up. The robbers were shouting to give them their money. They have "worse nightmares," he said.
The daughter-in-law of Georgianna and Harry Hoover, Lee Ette Frantz, told the court that the Hoovers of 2209 Bell Road, Niles, are now afraid to leave their home. They are afraid someone will be in their house when they return. She turned to Haynes and looked him square in the eyes, "Imagine your mother bound and taped and terrorized. You would understand what each victim went through."
Defense Attorney Roosevelt Thomas said Haynes came to court with a white flag realizing he did something stupid and bad. "Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt or killed. It could have happened," he said.
Haynes wrote a 14-page letter to the court of apology. "I apologize to the families. I did a terrible thing. I think about it every day. I deserve to go away as long as the judge gives me," he said.
Judge Michael E. Dodge told Haynes before sentencing that during May, June and July he committed serious home invasions with Dejuan Lowe, Tony Wilson and Michael Dammeron and another companion only known as "Fookie."
Haynes received 12 to 40 years for each of two convictions of conspiracy to commit home invasion first degree as a habitual third offender and a concurrent 12 to 40 years for one count of home invasion first degree as a habitual third offender.
He received 15 to 40 years for two counts of home invasion first degree as a habitual third offender.
He received 24 to 50 concurrent years for seven counts of armed robbery habitual third offender. He also received a two-year consecutive term for felony firearm habitual offender third and two-year concurrent terms for 12 counts of felony firearm habitual offender third.
For possession of a firearm by a felon habitual offender third, he received five to 10 concurrent years for each of three counts.
He also received charges of $60 each count to the Crime Victims' fund and $60 each for state assessments. He received 302 days for credit served.
Lowe received 27 to 50 years in February. Still at large is "Fookie" who has been identified as Darryl Taylor, 20, of Hammond, Ind.