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Home invasion robbers sentenced

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

RELATED: Read more CRIME stories from the Fredericksburg region.

Christy Newman said Thursday that she is still haunted by a June 19 incident during which three masked intruders terrorized her and her husband at their former Stafford County home.

The ordeal lasted more than an hour and finally ended after her husband, James, grabbed a knife and fought back against his attackers, critically injuring one of them.

“You think that your home is your safe haven,” Christy Newman testified Thursday in Stafford Circuit Court. “Now I never feel safe. I’m always in fear.”

Two of the three teenagers responsible for Newman’s fear, 17-year-olds Robert D. Cox III and Michael C. North, were sentenced Thursday.

Cox got 20 years to serve, while North received 15. Cox had a long juvenile record, while North had no prior record.

The third teen convicted in the Newman case, 18-year-old Terry A. Welch III, will be sentenced today. All three have been convicted of multiple charges, including burglary, robbery and abduction.

According to the evidence presented by Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen, the Newmans were in bed June 19 at their former home on Everglades Lane in Widewater Village when the doorbell rang about 1 a.m.

The couple decided not to answer the door, but James Newman went downstairs to check on his home. The couple has since moved out of the area.

The three teens, who were wearing masks and gloves, were already in the home. They had knives and had apparently entered through an unlocked garage door.

They attacked James Newman and grabbed his wife while repeatedly threatening to cut her.

They were in the home for an hour and 15 minutes. During that time, they put the couple in a closet, assaulted them, called them names and plundered their home.

They even helped themselves to drinks from the Newmans’ refrigerator after stacking up items they planned to take.

Fearing for their lives, James Newman got a knife himself and went after the intruders. He suffered cuts that required 15 stitches, but he also inflicted a wound on Cox that required him to be hospitalized for 10 days.

Deputy Dimas Pinzon found Cox lying on the ground in the neighborhood and performed life-saving first aid on the teen, according to testimony.

Cox and North later confessed to the June 19 incident, as well as two other home invasions.

Both those incidents occurred on May 21, one in Spotsylvania and another in Stafford. Cox and North will be sentenced on the Spotsylvania invasion next week; charges are still pending in the second Stafford incident.

Welch was not involved in the other two robberies. He was in jail on May 21.

Cox was released from a juvenile facility on March 5 and was on electronic monitoring and wearing an ankle bracelet during the three robberies.

Cox’s attorney, Jim Ilijevich, asked Judge Theodore Markow for mercy, noting that Cox had a difficult upbringing and was only 16 at the time of the offense.

He said it would be “outside of what is right” to give Cox the lengthy sentence requested by Olsen.

North’s attorney, Terence Patton, argued that his client deserved far less time than Cox.

Patton noted that Olsen called Cox the ringleader of the group and said North hadn’t been in any trouble until turning 16.

Olsen agreed that North’s past was better than Cox’s, but said his actions against the Newmans were “so heinous it really doesn’t matter.”

Olsen also scoffed at North’s claim of remorse, saying he wouldn’t have committed multiple home-invasions if he were really sorry.

During her testimony, Christy Newman expressed sympathy for her attackers and said she’d been praying for them and their families.

An emotional scene unfolded at the end of the hearings as Newman embraced North’s parents as he was taken back to jail.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404