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Man gets 25 years for Tremont agg. robberies

Posted at 12:53 PM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 05:49:47-05

Brandon Tyrone Durrette was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday, after he admitted to robbing 10 people at gunpoint in and around Tremont. In two of the occasions, he fired his gun, but no one was hurt.

The crime spree happened during a two week stretch in late April and early May. Durrette also admitted to several drug offenses and misusing a stolen credit card.

Durrette pled guilty to six robberies in Tremont and other parts of the west side of Cleveland earlier in 2015. During the sentencing, the prosecutor showed video of one of the robberies.

The video showed Durrette and his 14-year-old accomplice hiding in an alley on W. 11th Street as two other men approached. Durrette points a gun at one of the men and rifles through his pockets.

The case against the 14-year-old is still pending.

In court, Durrette's mother pleaded for mercy.

“It’s hard right now, but I just want you to know that he’s not this horrible person," she told Judge Michael E. Jackson.

Prosecutors were pleased with the sentence.

"Twenty-five years is a long time," Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ed Fadel said, "And it should send a message to the public that crime like this isn’t going to be tolerated.”

Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of throwing the book at their client just because many of the crimes happened in a trendy neighborhood.

“We practice in a state where a sentence for murder is 15 to life," Jeff Saffold said. "To give a young man 25 years in cases where no one was injured, it causes me great concern as a citizen, not just as a lawyer.”
 
But Judge Jackson said the evidence justified the harsh sentence, especially given Durrette had been in Jackson's court before, for a series of other crimes.
 
Jackson also said 53 west side neighbors, including some victims, wrote him letters about the case.

One victim said he was visiting Cleveland for the first time when he was robbed at gunpoint. Another victim said she was so concerned for her safety, she moved out of the city the day after she was robbed.

Cory Riordan, with the Tremont West Development Corporation, was in court for sentencing. He believes the crimes are isolated and is ready to move on.

"Tremont has been known to be a safe community, vibrant and lively community," Riordan said. "Investment continues, so we’re happy to have this behind us.”

To learn more about Durrette's sentencing, view the tweets from Reporter Derick Waller below. 

According to police, 21-year-old Durrette was allegedly involved in a narcotics-trafficking ring run out of a home on West 97th Street. He was arrested May 5 and booked in the Cuyahoga County jail. His 14-year-old accomplice was taken to the juvenile detention center on an aggravated robbery warrant.

While at the scene of the West 97th Street home, police found the driver's license of an Avon woman who was the victim of an aggravated robbery in Lakewood and the suspect vehicle described by victims of other robberies. Police said this evidence connected Durrette and the 14 year old to the series of robberies. 

After sharing their findings with the Cleveland Police First District, police got an additional arrest warrant for Durrette on an aggravated robbery charge. 

Police said their evidence linked the pair to nearly two dozen aggravated robberies, including ones in Tremont. 

Durrette was formally charged with aggravated robbery. Additional charges of felonious assault, drug trafficking, aggravated robbery and receiving stolen property were presented to the grand jury, police said.

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