The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Two plead guilty in home-invasion robbery
BY KEITH EPPS
Two men who robbed a Spotsylvania County couple at gunpoint in their home early Jan. 10 pleaded guilty to multiple charges Tuesday.
Tylor Scott Laing, 20, and Jonathan Parker Frame, 22, both of Spotsylvania, were convicted of robbery, armed burglary and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
They will be sentenced Oct. 10 in Spotsylvania Circuit Court. The firearms convictions carry a mandatory total of eight years in prison, while the other two charges carry potential life sentences.
According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Tom Shaia, Clyde Hamrick was awakened about 3 a.m. Jan. 10 by one of the family dogs at his home on Hamilton Street off Tidewater Trail in Spotsylvania.
Hamrick, 69, got out of bed and took the dog outside, where the dog continued to bark loudly after being placed in a fenced-in area.
Hamrick testified at a preliminary hearing that as he was going back into his house, a masked man came up from behind and put a shotgun in his face. He said the gunman told him to “go inside and everything will be all right.”
The gunman, later identified as Laing, was wearing a blue bullet-proof vest with the emblem of the U.S. Marshals Service on the front and “U.S. Marshals POLICE” on the back.
As he walked into his house, Hamrick, 69, said he yelled to his wife, “I’m coming in and there’s a boy with a gun in my back.”
Joyce Hamrick, 68, said at first she thought her husband was kidding. But moments later, a second gunman entered her bedroom.
That gunman, later identified as Frame, ordered Joyce Hamrick to join her husband in the kitchen. Joyce Hamrick, who is on oxygen and uses a wheelchair, struggled to do so.
When he saw his wife without her oxygen, Clyde Hamrick asked the gunmen to let him get it for her. Court records state that Frame replied, “Let her die.”
According to court records, Frame then told Laing, “If they move, shoot them.”
Frame then got a safe from the bedroom containing the Hamricks’ medication. He took the safe outside, then came back in and threatened to shoot the couple if they didn’t give him $500.
The Hamricks gave the suspects the money and they left. The men also took a bracelet from Joyce Hamrick’s purse that was going to be a gift for another woman.
The ordeal lasted between 30 and 45 minutes, the Hamricks estimated, and they were threatened several times.
The Hamricks’ son and his fiancée were upstairs and eventually awakened and called 911. They said the son was about to come down to confront the intruders, but a dispatcher urged him not to.
The suspects were gone when police arrived, but deputies found the opened safe in a yard about two houses away. The drugs were gone, but some personal papers were intact.
The Sheriff’s Office later found a gym bag in the nearby woods. Inside were some of the missing pills, the bullet-proof vest, a mask, a bandana and the guns.
The mask was sent to the state lab and Laing’s DNA was determined to be on it.
Laing fled to Texas after the robbery, but was later extradited back to Virginia.
The bracelet that had been taken from Joyce Hamrick’s purse was recovered from Frame’s girlfriend, who told police that Frame had given it to her.
Court records state that in a recorded phone call from the Rappahannock Regional Jail, Frame told the woman not to testify about the bracelet because that would tie him to the crime.
The girlfriend angrily replied, “but that’s what happened.”