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Twelve hours after a prison-delaying deal, a Hernando teen is back in jail

SPRING HILL — A Hernando judge on Thursday gave 16-year-old Natasha Raiola two weeks of freedom before she started her three-year prison sentence.

But Raiola needed only 12 hours before landing behind bars.

Sheriff's deputies arrested her and boyfriend Jeovani Hernandez at 10:44 p.m. Thursday for burglarizing a Spring Hill home.

Raiola was free on her existing bond until Jan. 22, when she was scheduled to report to prison to serve her sentence for a home-invasion robbery.

The grace period was part of a plea agreement with prosecutors that she reached hours before her arrest. Circuit Judge Stephen Rushing granted the request so she could attend a prescheduled medical appointment.

Arrest reports state her new troubles began later that night when she and Hernandez went to a home on Tarrytown Drive three times to confront a teenage acquaintance.

Raiola and Hernandez tried to push their way into the home, but the victim's mother managed to hold the door shut. Hernandez kicked the door at least once, causing damage, reports state.

Hernandez said he wanted to wait inside the home for the boy to return.

The two were involved in a fight earlier in the day, said Sgt. Donna Black, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

Deputies found Raiola and Hernandez at their shared residence on nearby Falmouth Court and matched a shoe print from the victim's door to a pair of Converse sneakers under Hernandez's bed.

Raiola's attorney Robert Morris questioned whether his client played a large enough role to merit the serious charge.

But Deputy Brandon Cox wrote in his report that her actions "places her responsibility in the case to be the same as" Hernandez.

The arrest won't alter the plea deal in the home-invasion case, but she's not likely to receive another lenient sentence.

Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee offered Raiola a youthful offender sentence even though she was initially charged as an adult and faced upwards of 50 years in prison.

The lighter punishment came at the request of the victim. The judge recommended she serve the time in a boot camp.

But Barbee said Raiola can't get that break twice and she likely is facing significant time in prison if convicted on the new charge.

Also, the state corrections department now is less likely to let Raiola serve her time in a boot camp.

Barbee defends allowing Raiola the time before serving her sentence. He said the medical appointment was sufficient reason to delay the sentencing in the first place and keep her free on bond.

But he said he wanted to close the case and didn't want the state to incur the cost of the medical appointment if she was in custody.

"I think this is more of an anomaly," he said.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Twelve hours after a prison-delaying deal, a Hernando teen is back in jail 01/09/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 6:56pm]
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