Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two sentenced in robbery, battery of MacDill Army sergeant

TAMPA — Early one spring morning last year, a home surveillance camera caught what prosecutors called a random act of violence.

Four men approached an Army sergeant at 3:30 a.m. on May 13 as he walked down a street near MacDill Air Force Base. After asking for a dollar, the video shows the men punching and kicking the soldier for 40 seconds.

Two of the men pleaded guilty Thursday morning to aggravated battery with great bodily harm. Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta sentenced Brandon Miller, 19, to five years in state prison. Lerome Howard, 19, received three years.

Each agreed to pay toward a $500 restitution for the victim, Sgt. Johnny Aparicio, who was 24 at the time of the robbery. He had arrived three weeks earlier to his post at the Air Force base.

Prosecutors say Aparicio's car broke down on Iowa Avenue that morning, and he was walking home when the men attacked him. They took his cell phone, $60 and his Georgia drivers license. They knocked out a front tooth and broke his nose.

Aparicio did not come to the sentencing Thursday, but prosecutors said he agreed with the punishments.

All four men were 18 at the time of the crime.

The other two men involved in the incident, Geroshe Lewis, now 19, and Jared Richardson, 18, still face charges for robbery and felony battery.

Just before he was sentenced and taken into custody, Howard hugged his grandmother and his mother. Latoshia Jennings said she and her son had been praying and were grateful that the consequences weren't worse. She said her son is a very quiet person who made bad choices in friends. She wanted the victim to know she was sorry for her son's part in the attack.

Two sentenced in robbery, battery of MacDill Army sergeant 02/28/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Rather than criticizing anthem protests, we should be asking about the reasons for them


    MINNEAPOLIS — They are football players. They are teammates. They are Tampa Bay Bucs.

    Bucs wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Here kitty, kitty ...


    In a toned down version of the annual rookie dress-up day based on MLB's new anti-hazing policy, Rays rookie players and staff - plus second-year LHP Blake Snell - donned DJ Kitty onesies for the trip to New York.

    Rays rookie players and staff - joined here by Alex Colome - sporting their DJ Kitty onesies before the flight to New York.
  3. Pasco residents affected by Irma invited to town hall meeting

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Representatives from Pasco County Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will play host to a town hall-style meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the first-floor boardroom of the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey

    Sandra Cunningham assesses the damage a water oak did to her Church Avenue home when it crashed into her bedroom roof during Hurricane Irma.
  4. Lightning's Nikita Kucherov has a lot to say — about moving on to a much better season

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov sits back in his stall and smiles.

    Laughs a little, too.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) prepares for a faceoff during the first period of Friday's  (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  5. Clearwater man shot, seriously injured


    CLEARWATER — A shooting Sunday morning in unincorporated Clearwater left one man seriously injured, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.