Niles man gets prison time for party store robbery

Published 4:00 pm Friday, January 12, 2024

CASSOPOLIS — A young Niles man who robbed a Niles area party store last year was sentenced to prison Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.

Darious Dean Hradel, 22, of Lilac Avenue in Niles, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to 39 months to 25 years in prison. He has credit for 218 days already served and must pay $1,508 in fines, costs and restitution.

The incident occurred April 27, 2023 when Hradel robbed the Sunrise Party Store in Howard Township to steal cash and other items to support his drug habit. Although he wore a mask, he was identified by his clothing and the knife he used and was arrested in June.

Cass County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mary Foster noted that the 39 month prison term plea agreement is below the minimum sentencing guidelines of 81 months. “This is really an opportunity for him,” she said.

Defense attorney Robert Drake said Hradel had childhood trauma with exposure to substance abuse and violence growing up which was one reason for his juvenile criminal record. He pointed out that Hradel felt remorse about what he did which “shows he’s not a monster.”

“I’d like to say after seven months in jail to reflect on my actions that this is not the life I want to live,” Hradel said. “I’ve taken AA classes in jail and got my GED, I want to change.”

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman told Hradel that he hoped Hradel is sincere in wanting to change as he has a long life ahead of him. The judge noted that this was Hradel’s third felony charge as an adult after a juvenile record of multiple assault charges.

“You’ve been out of control since you were 15,” he said. “You will likely live another 50 to 60 years. If you don’t change, that’s going to be your life. You’re asking for leniency and you’re getting leniency. The 39 months is still less than half of what the guidelines call for. The prosecutor is giving you one last chance to make changes.”