A participant in a plot to invade and rob an occupied home at gunpoint last summer outside Atchison formally confessed to his involvement and pleaded guilty to three violent felonies on Monday.
Devan T. Newson, 25, is consequently convicted of robbery, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit burglary. Under state law, the robbery conviction is for an aggravated crime because it involved the use of a deadly weapon; the burglary conviction is aggravated because the targeted home had residents inside at the time of the crime, late in the evening on Aug. 29, 2018.
On that evening, Newson persuaded a female acquaintance, who testified against him last November, to pick up two men wearing stocking caps and transport them to a location along John Road, near the crime scene in the 2700 block of Elm Drive outside city limits. The men got out and later returned with a small safe containing cash, having coerced it from victim Gary Myers and his family at gunpoint.
“We have good news on the robbery case,” Myers said in a social media announcement. “(Newson) pleaded guilty! (We) will have sentencing, then we can move on to the last one and we will have closure.”
Newson, appearing before Judge Robert Bednar, reached an agreement via his court-appointed defense counsel, John J. Bryant of Leavenworth, with the office of Atchison County Attorney Sherri Becker, for Newson to plead guilty to the three felonies. As part of the agreement, Becker agreed to support the dismissal of a host of other charges.
Newson affirmed the validity of all evidence presented against him in a Nov. 14, 2018, preliminary court hearing. He acknowledged that the dropped charges may be re-filed at any point in the future if he withdraws his guilty pleas or otherwise is deemed in violation of the plea agreement.
Becker explained that under the grid sentencing guidelines defined in Kansas statute, Newson faces a minimum of 55 months in prison for committing aggravated robbery, a minimum of 55 months in prison for kidnapping and a minimum of 17 months in prison for conspiracy. These penalties could end up running concurrently.
At least, Newson is expected to spend the next five years in prison, and if all minimum penalties are applied consecutively, he will be sentenced to more than 10 years. If the maximum penalties are applied consecutively for each count, Newson would receive a sentence of more than 25 years in prison. Becker estimated that the likely sentence will range between these extremes, though in any event it is Judge Bednar’s decision alone.
Two other men have been charged in the case, Marcell M. Bailey, 20, and Brandon J. Williams, 27. Williams pleaded guilty in the case in December 2018 and is serving a 41-month sentence in state prison. Bailey’s case remains pending amid a competency evaluation; he has been housed at the Atchison County Jail since September 2018.