Correction to This Article
A Jan. 5 Sports article incorrectly said that former Whitman High School student Justin Schweiger was found guilty of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery.

Last Defendant in Smoothie Case Pleads Guilty; Sentencing Feb. 1

By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 5, 2007

The last of the five former Whitman High School students charged in connection with the robbery of a Bethesda Smoothie King pleaded guilty yesterday in Montgomery County Circuit Court to conspiracy to commit robbery.

Alex Krouskas, who was employed at the store and was working the night of the heist, is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 1 by Judge David A. Boykin. Although the charge carries a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison, as part of the plea agreement prosecutors agreed that Krouskas would not be sent to jail for more than 18 months. It is more likely that Krouskas, 17, will spend only a few days in jail.

"How you do in the community between now and the sentencing date will go a long way in determining what I decide to do," Boykin told Krouskas.

Prosecutors also dropped felony charges of armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Krouskas's attorney, Mariana Cordier, said her client did not participate in the planning of the robbery but acknowledged guilt because he attended what assistant state's attorney Tom DeGonia called a post-robbery "pizza party" and accepted $40 of the $463 taken in the heist.

According to court documents, Krouskas initially told police he did not know the robbers' identities. Later, he told police he was not a "snitch," and would not name the robber before finally identifying the person as classmate Robert Warren.

Warren subsequently identified the others involved in the robbery, later pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Standout linebacker Pat Lazear pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. Tommy Ashley's case was waived to juvenile court, where he was found involved as an accessory to robbery after the fact. Justin Schweiger was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery and will be sentenced Jan. 23.

The five were sent to other Montgomery County schools. Krouskas attends Einstein but his parents did not allow him to play sports or get his driver's license because of the charges, Cordier said.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company