Prison sentence reduced for convicted safe robber

Judge C.J. Moriarty (on bench) reduced the sentence of Stanley Johnson (seated in white shirt). — File photo by Steve Myrick

Convicted safe robber Stanley Johnson of Oak Bluffs will spend less time in state prison for his crime. Just before Christmas, Dukes County Superior Court Associate Justice C.J. Moriarty reduced Mr. Johnson’s sentence from a 5- to 7-year prison term to a 3- to 4-year term.

Defense attorney Drew Segadelli filed a routine motion following the trial to revise the sentence. Judge Moriarty, acting on his own, and without a hearing, modified the sentence.

Oak Bluffs police Lt. Tim Williamson said his department is puzzled by the judge’s action.

“We thought the sentence given at the trial was just,” Lt. Williams said. “We’re disappointed.”

Police arrested Mr. Johnson, 52, of Oak Bluffs, along with an accomplice, Daniel BenDavid, 48, of Oak Bluffs, in April 2011, for stealing a safe that contained $85,000 from the home of an elderly Oak Bluffs man.

In a stern lecture from the bench after a jury convicted Mr. Johnson, Judge Moriarty ordered restitution of the full amount.

“It’s a very difficult concept to swallow that somebody could be so unconcerned about a fellow human being,” Judge Moriarty said at the October 16 sentencing hearing. “I know the police gave Mr. Johnson every opportunity to make this right. He took the opportunity to dupe them and decided to run the risk. It’s a gamble that he took that is not going to pay off.”

At the sentencing, Judge Moriarty said he would consider revising the sentence if restitution was made to the victim. There is no record of restitution in court documents.

Mr. BenDavid, who testified against his accomplice in court, pleaded guilty to his role in the safe heist as part of a plea agreement. Judge Moriarty sentenced Mr. BenDavid to four years of strictly supervised probation, but no jail time.

Judge Moriarty also delivered a stern warning to Mr. BenDavid. “You were clearly the mastermind of this event,” Judge Moriarty said at the October 22 sentencing hearing. “Your prior periods of incarceration just don’t seem to have any effect on you. What makes this extremely despicable is the fact that you targeted an elderly man. I give you good warning, sir, if you are found to have violated the terms of this probation, you will be going to state prison for an awful long time.”

Mr. BenDavid has been arrested twice since his conviction, on a charge of disorderly conduct, and then on a charge of assault. After his December 12 arrest on the assault charge, he was held at the Dukes County jail on $5,000 bail. After a bail review on December 21, in Barnstable Superior Court, Mr. BenDavid’s bail was reduced to $1,000, and he was released on bail the same day.

Mr. BenDavid is scheduled for a probation hearing on January 29 in Dukes County Superior Court.