A D.C. Superior Court judge yesterday sentenced two Washington men to serve a minimum of 41 years in prison for armed robbery and related charges, the most severe sentences meted out since the court began its "career criminal" unit 16 months ago.
Judge H. Carl Moultrie I sentenced the two men for their part in stealing $450 at gunpoint last year from a card game at a Northeast row house. A 63-year-old man was shot and seriously injured during the armed robbery.
Daniel J. Bernstein, director of the career criminal unit, said the sentences were the longest handed out since his unit began investigating and prosecuting cases involving repeat offenders.
Sentenced yesterday were Harold L. Venable, 24, of 902 13th St. NE, who was on parole for an armed robbery conviction at the time of the card game holdup and has a prior conviction for a weapons violation, and Theo (Winky) Jones, 44, of 1501 D St. NE.
According to Det. John A. Prosek, who coordinated the investigation for the career criminal unit, Jones has two prior drug-related convictions.
Venable, Jones and Pauline (Lady) Broadnax, 18, of 670 50th Pl. SE, were convicted last October by a Superior Court jury of various counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, first-degree burglary while armed and armed robbery, Prosek said. Because of her age, the sentencing of Broadnex was postponed until studies are completed under the terms of the Youth Corrections Act, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Moultrie sentenced Venable and Jones to a minimum of 41 years and a maximum of 125 years in jail. An assistant U.S. attorney said it would be unlikely that either Venable or Jones will be eligible for parole before serving their minimum 41-year terms.
A total of seven people were charged with the card game holdup, which occurred shortly after midnight last Dec. 19, at 904 13th St. NE, Prosek said. Three of the seven pleaded guilty to armed robbery charges, Prosek said. A fourth man, Andrew Maurice Redwood, who allegedly masterminded the holdup, is a fugitive, Prosek said.
The charges culminated a six-month investigation by the career criminal unit, during which three different grand juries heard evidence related to the case, Prosek said.
Prosek said some of the defendance in the case are suspects in more than two-dozen holdups involving drugs and gambling that occured between August, 1975, and December, 1976.
The holdup for which the two men were sentenced yesterday occurred in a tiny, dilapidated row house where more than 40 people were playing a card game called "Georgia Skin," Prosek said. A cook was serving food and drink and the gambling was in full swing when four armed and masked men entered the house, Prosek said.
According to Prosek, Jones and Broadnax were inside the house at the time and unlocked doors at either end of the house to let in the holdup men, one of whom was Venable. During the robbery the 63-year-old man was shot point-blank with a sawed off shotgun, Prosek said.