Update on June armed home invasion and robbery spree: 2 suspects convicted, 2 await trial
In a two-day span in early June, armed robbers invaded a home and targeted multiple victims on Lawrence streets, reportedly stealing a car, money and other items at gunpoint.
Four suspects stand charged in connection with one or more of the incidents. Two of them have now been convicted, and two have trial dates scheduled — including one man whose charges were upgraded to seven felony counts against five victims plus one misdemeanor count of fleeing police.
The string of related crimes began with an armed home invasion and robbery June 6 in the 1700 block of West 24th Street, Lawrence police previously told the Journal-World.
On June 7 an armed robbery was reported about 5:30 p.m. in a parking lot at 23rd and Louisiana streets, an “incident” involving a gun a few minutes later in the 1900 block of Rhode Island Street and a disturbance with a gun seconds after that near 15th Street and Haskell Avenue.
After a brief car and foot pursuit following the June 7 reports, police captured three suspects: Elmoses Blackwell, Joshua L. Gardner and Chrystal M. White. A fourth man, Curtis J. Core was later arrested on a bench warrant in Wyandotte County and transferred to the Douglas County Jail.
Here is where each case stands, according to Douglas County District Court documents.
• Gardner, 27, of Lawrence, was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice, a felony, for aiding someone in commission of or escaping punishment for a felony.
Gardner initially was charged with aggravated robbery, but earlier this month pleaded no contest to the lower-level felony.
During his initial court appearance in June, Gardner interjected during the proceedings, “I didn’t rob anyone … I was in the back seat of the car.”
Gardner’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15.
• Core, 25, of Lawrence, was convicted of one count each of aggravated burglary and robbery, both felonies.
Core burglarized the home on 24th Street and stole clothes, money, a wallet and a gaming system, according to the charges. In addition to two other victims, there was a 13-year-old child inside the home.
Core pleaded no contest to those downgraded charges earlier this month. Previously, Core had been charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and one count each of aggravated burglary, aggravated assault and kidnapping for confining an adult victim against his will.
Core is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 8.
• Blackwell, 27, of Denver, was charged days after the robberies, and more counts against him were added earlier this month.
For crimes occurring June 6 and June 7, Blackwell is charged with three counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of aggravated burglary and kidnapping, all felonies. Blackwell also is charged with driving a vehicle to flee or elude police, a misdemeanor.
One of the aggravated assault charges is for threatening the 13-year-old in the 24th Street home with a gun.
Blackwell stole a car, clothes, phones and money from multiple victims, charges allege.
A jury trial for Blackwell is set for Dec. 4.
• White, 44, of Lawrence, stands charged with one count of aggravated robbery, a felony.
A jury trial for White is scheduled for Oct. 11.
All four cases are pending in the courtroom of Douglas County District Court Judge Kay Huff.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office declined to release mugshots of the four defendants.