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Two men sentenced to prison for Zephyrhills invasion this past spring

DADE CITY — Two young men who broke into a Zephyrhills couple's home and assaulted them this past spring received prison terms Wednesday after striking plea deals.

Eric Vliet, 22, was sentenced to six and a half years, while Bryan Wesolowski, 18, received seven years and seven months. Wesolowski's sentence was longer because it included a prison term for an unrelated charge.

Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa agreed to the deals after the female victim approved them at a pretrial meeting on Dec. 15. She wasn't in court Wednesday; prosecutors said she wasn't feeling well.

The two were initially charged with armed home invasion robbery, sexual battery and grand theft auto, according to jail records. But prosecutors dropped the sexual battery charges and lowered the home invasion robbery to robbery with a weapon.

The victims told deputies that two men broke into the home shortly before 9 a.m. April 13 and ordered the woman into the bathroom. Vliet was armed with a flare gun while Wesolowski wielded a BB gun, the report said.

Police reports said Vliet sexually assaulted the woman, 50, while Wesolowski shot the male victim, 63, once in the head in the living room with the BB gun.

The pair tied the victims' hands and left them lying on a bed, threatening to harm the woman and her parents if she called police, the report said. They then took her purse and keys and drove off in her vehicle.

Zephyrhills police arrested Vliet that night on a disorderly conduct charge at his stepfather's home after he was reported to be drunk and "out of control," picking fights and threatening to kill everyone in the house, a report said. Police said Vliet smelled of alcohol, and they found beer cans scattered across the back yard. Vliet, who had bloody knuckles on both hands, told police the injuries were the result of punching a tree, but witnesses said they came from Vliet punching doors and ripping one off the hinges, the report said.

The home invasion victims later identified Vliet through photos as one of the two attackers. The next day, deputies arrested Wesolowski of Zephyrhills, who was 17 at the time.

The man injured by the BB gun was treated at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. Medical personnel performed a rape exam on the woman, who wasn't hospitalized.

Two men sentenced to prison for Zephyrhills invasion this past spring 12/29/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 7:27pm]
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