Two Island men were sentenced to state prison Friday for an October 2011 armed robbery in Edgartown.
On Thursday, a jury found Brian D. Gromoshak, 32, of Oak Bluffs, and Demetrio Garcia 3rd, 19, of West Tisbury, guilty on several charges, including armed robbery and larceny more than $250. They were sentenced Friday at the Edgartown courthouse by the Hon. Cornelius J. Moriarty 2nd, associate justice of the superior court.
The two were arrested in October 2011 for allegedly taking $7,000 and three pounds of marijuana by knifepoint from an Edgartown man, whose name is being withheld. He was in the courtroom on Friday, and delivered a written victim impact statement to the judge.
Mr. Gromoshak, whom Judge Moriarty called the “ringleader and a remorseless one at that,” was sentenced to 10 to 12 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Cedar Junction, a maximum security prison in Walpole, for a charge of armed robbery. On charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, armed breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony, larceny more than $250, and two counts of intimidation of a witness, he was sentenced to time ranging from one year to three to five years in a house of correction, concurrent with the first count.
Mr. Garcia was sentenced to six to eight years at Cedar Junction for the armed robbery charge, and sentenced to three to five years in a house of correction for charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony, and larceny more than $250, to be served concurrent with the first count.
Judge Moriarty said he took into account that Mr. Garcia is younger, though “I do take into account the fact that this young man broke into the big leagues in a very big way.” Both men were required to submit a DNA sample.
Before the sentencing, Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard recounted the defendants’ criminal records, noting that both have been convicted in the past at the Edgartown court. Mr. Garcia has been convicted for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and larceny charges, she said, and Mr. Gromoshak had an “extensive record” both in Dukes County and in Florida, including serving time for drug possession and charges including assault, burglary and drug possession going back to the late 1990s in Florida.
Ms. Marshard said Mr. Garcia appeared to be following the direction of Mr. Gromoshak when carrying out the robbery. “The victim was preyed upon, if you will, by Mr. Gromoshak,” Ms. Marshard said, saying that he took advantage of getting to know the victim. She said the victim was punched in the face, forcibly brought back to his home in a choke and shoulder hold and a knife was used to rob him of $7,000 in cash and other assets. “The level of violence is of particular significance to the DA’s office,” she said.
The sentence was less than that requested by Ms. Marshard, who asked for 12 to 18 years in state prison.
Mr. Gromoshak’s lawyer, Robert E. Manning 2nd., said Mr. Gromoshak is already doing time at the Dukes County house of correction for a probation violation. He suggested a five-year sentence.
Mr. Garcia’s lawyer, Robert Nolan, said his client wants to take responsibility. “He’s remorseful,” he said, emphasizing his client’s young age. “He’s at a crossroads,” he said, adding that a long-term sentence would institutionalize rather than rehabilitate him, and would make him a “non-productive person coming out of prison.” He suggested a prison sentence of about four years.
“The sentencing phase is the most unpleasant of all judicial endeavors,” Judge Moriarty said. “I take no pleasure in it at all.” He said he did not see much familial support for the two men.
“Most important in this case is protection of the public,” he said. “This to me was a very serious crime and I’m very troubled by the nature of this crime,” he added, saying it was a “brazen crime” and “thuggery at its worst.”