Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jaime Marquez gets 30 years in prison for Hernando Beach tower robbery

BROOKSVILLE — Jaime Angel Marquez stood at the podium Thursday morning reading a recommendation that he serve the rest of his life in prison.

A jury convicted him a month ago for the August armed robbery of a teenage couple atop the popular observation tower in Hernando Beach. At the time, he was under house arrest for another armed robbery.

When his time came to speak, his voice crackled and eyes teared. Marquez pleaded for mercy, for his life.

I am only 19, he told the judge. I never had a family until now. I'm not a bad person.

"All I ask is: Can you please not be so quick to give me life? Because I can still learn," he said.

Circuit Judge Stephen Rushing granted his request. In part.

He sentenced Marquez to 30 years in prison followed by five years of probation.

"I'm giving you a sentence that you will be able to get out and make a life but … also protects the community," Rushing said.

In making his ruling, Rushing said he balanced Marquez's situation with the trauma experienced by the victims.

A mother of one of the victims, Sue Birrell, told the judge that her 18-year-old daughter is still suffering psychologically from the Aug. 31 robbery.

"At the time she should be looking forward to her senior year of high school. Instead, she is being treated for nightmares and depression," Birrell said.

Her daughter, Brittany Birrell, and daughter's boyfriend, Sonny Mylle, 19, were talking on the top deck about 10 p.m. when two men — later identified as Marquez and Jerae Crussell, 24 — approached.

Marquez pointed the gun at Mylle and told him to empty his pockets. The gunman ordered him to lie on the deck and Crussell told Birrell to hand over her jewelry and jacket. They then fled in Mylle's 1992 BMW.

Assistant Public Defender Alan Fanter asked the judge to give his client a sentence equal to that of the other three defendants. Crussell received seven years in prison and two others who accompanied them that night received probation as part of plea deals for their testimony.

Fanter asked for 10 years, the minimum sentence allowed. Marquez's father, Angel Marquez, also asked for leniency for his son.

He told the judge how his son had a tough childhood, how he wasn't there because he was often in prison and how they are turning their lives around now.

"I mean, who hasn't committed a crime or made a mistake in their lives?" the father said. "I'm not asking you to let him go. I'm just asking for a fair sentence."

Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee said he heard a similar story a year ago when Angel Marquez approached him after his son's first arrest for armed robbery in January 2008.

In that case, the prosecutor cut the younger Marquez a break. But this time he asked for life in prison — the same sentence recommended by the state Corrections Department.

"Mr. Marquez was given the opportunity to straighten his life out," the prosecutor said. "He failed to do that."

After the sentence, Fanter made one last request. Marquez's parents can't visit him in prison because they are felons. He asked the judge to recommend that corrections officials allow such visitation.

Rushing said he does not have the authority to make such an order, but he agreed to make the request. "I do think it's important to keep those family ties," he said.

John Frank can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 754-6114.

Jaime Marquez gets 30 years in prison for Hernando Beach tower robbery 02/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 5, 2009 6:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest

    BY AMY SCHERZER

    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.