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Teens convicted in home invasion

BY KEITH EPPS

Two teenagers who were involved in a brutal home-invasion robbery were convicted of multiple charges Thursday.

Robert D. Cox III and Michael North, both 17, were two of three intruders who entered a home at 37 Everglades Lane in North Stafford on June 19 and robbed and tormented a married couple, according to court testimony.

The lengthy ordeal finally ended when the husband, James Newman, grabbed a knife and fought back against his attackers.

Cox suffered a life-threatening stab wound during the fight and was later found lying outside bleeding and moaning by a deputy who was responding to the robbery call.

Both teens Thursday were convicted of two counts of robbery, two counts of abduction for pecuniary benefit and four other charges in Stafford Circuit Court.

North pleaded guilty to the charges, while Cox was found guilty by Judge Theodore Markow following a bench trial.

Both teens are being tried as adults and will be sentenced on Feb. 28. Four of their convictions carry potential life sentences.

A third teen accused in the incident, 18-year-old Terry Welch, has a trial set for Dec. 19.

Newman testified again Thursday that someone rang his doorbell shortly after 1 a.m. that day. He wasn’t going to answer the door, but he went downstairs to check on his home.

The three masked intruders were already in the home. They had apparently entered through an unlocked garage door.

Armed with knives they had gotten from Newman’s home, they beat and cursed Newman and put his screaming wife in a headlock while threatening to cut her.

They eventually put the couple in a closet and one of them stood guard while the others plundered the house.

Newman was hit repeatedly during the hourlong ordeal, and his wife had her glasses knocked off and was called derogatory names, according to the evidence.

The intruders stacked up items to take, including a television, jewelry and computer equipment and helped themselves to drinks from the victims’ refrigerator.

Newman, who had repeatedly asked the suspects to take what they wanted and leave, said he decided to fight after one of them looked at some cooking oil and said, “This is what I’m looking for.”

Newman said he was afraid the suspects were going to tie him and his wife up and set their home on fire.

The suspects finally fled after Newman began swinging the knife.

 Deputy Dimas Pinzon  responded to the call about 2 a.m. when he saw North wearing a hoodie.

North ran from the deputy, but Pinzon then heard Cox moaning, “help me, help me.”

Cox had a deep stab wound in his side and Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen said he could have died had it not been for Pinzon’s assistance.

Cox underwent emergency surgery and North was arrested later when he went to the hospital to get treatment for his injuries.

Both teens gave police confessions regarding their role in that robbery and two others.

They have trials scheduled for next week in Spotsylvania Circuit Court in connection with a May 21 incident in which a 46-year-old woman was robbed and tied up in her Oak Grove Terrace home.

The teens also confessed to a robbery that same night in Widewater Village in North Stafford in which a couple was forced to walk around naked while being robbed at knife-point.

No charges have yet been filed in that case.

Welch was in jail on May 21 and is  accused in only the later robbery.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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