Capawock robbery suspects plead guilty
Michael Ellis, 20, and Brett Geddis, 18, pled guilty to reduced charges Monday, in connection with the robbery last September of 79-year-old George Buckley, a ticket taker at the Capawock Theater in Vineyard Haven.
The men admitted in Dukes County Superior Court that they assaulted and stole money from Mr. Buckley as he carried nearly $500 in theater receipts to a night deposit box on Main Street.
The two suspects were originally indicted on charges of unarmed robbery of a person over 60, and assault and battery. The maximum sentence for unarmed robbery is life in prison.
Standing before Associate Justice Cornelius J. Moriarty 2nd, Mr. Ellis of Edgartown and Mr. Geddis of Vineyard Haven pled guilty to a reduced charge of larceny of a person over 60, as well as assault and battery. The maximum sentence for those crimes is five years in prison.
The guilty pleas were the result of an agreement between assistant district attorney Laura Marshard and defense attorneys for the two men. Ms. Marshard said, after considering the facts of the case, the reduced charge of larceny was reasonable and appropriate.
The inadvertent loss of a videotaped confession by Mr. Ellis played a role in the disposition of the case. A recording of the interrogation made at the Edgartown police station was made without audio, and was later recorded over by mistake.
On April 1, Justice Moriarty denied the request of Mr. Ellis, through his attorney, Rob Hoffman, to dismiss charges because of the destroyed evidence. He also denied a request to suppress the testimony of police officers who conducted the interview, and others who watched it from a remote location.
Attorney Charles Morano represented Mr. Geddis, who was not part of the motion. Mr. Geddis's confession was not destroyed.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 30. Ms. Marshard told the judge she will recommend the maximum possible sentence of five years, with four years to be served in a house of correction, and the remaining year suspended for four years of supervised probation. She will also ask that the sentence be served off-Island.
Ms. Marshard said that her sentencing recommendation is based on repeated conversations with Mr. Buckley. She said Mr. Buckley intends to be in court for the sentencing.
Both Mr. Ellis and Mr. Geddis have been jailed since their arrest in October on bail set at $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.