SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A 15-year-old Syracuse boy will now spend the next two to six years in juvenile detention and the rest of his life as a felon. It was all for a robbery that earned him only pocket change.
Anthony Stewart was found guilty of first-degree robbery earlier this month for beating and kicking a 73-year-old man and robbing him of seven cents. Prosecutors say the victim was on his way to a store last December when the two teenagers ran up from behind, knocked him into a snow bank, then kicked and punched him. The two teens had handguns, which Stewart later admitted were BB guns, prosecutors said.
Onondaga County Judge William Walsh rejected a defense lawyer's request to treat Anthony Stewart, of West Onondaga Street, as a youthful offender, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. Treating Stewart as a youthful offender would have removed the felony conviction from his record and seal the case file.
Walsh said he might have ruled differently if Stewart had pleaded guilty, as his 16-year-old co-defendant Skyler Ninham did, the Post-Standard reports. The 15-year-old reportedly denied his involvement despite the fact that Ninham and the 73-year-old robbery victim identified Stewart as a participant in the crime.
Earlier this month, Walsh sentenced Ninham, who was also convicted of first-degree robbery, as a youthful offender up to four years in state prison.
Stewart's lawyer, Laurin Haddad, said that she was disappointed by Walsh's decision to deny youthful-offender treatment, the Standard-Post reports.
"For seven cents, now you're making someone a felon for the rest of his life," she said.