Teen sentenced to 14 years in prison for robberies

A Hennepin County District Court judge sentenced Antonio Deshawn Timberlake, age 17, to more than 14 years in prison for his role in four robberies in Southwest Minneapolis and Edina. Timberlake pleaded guilty in adult court to aggravated assault and robbery for incidents including a March 2014 robbery and stabbing in Armatage. 

In a memorandum, Judge William Koch shared some of Timberlake’s background, writing that “we cannot ignore his youth or his circumstances.”

“In this case, the court is confronted with a 17-year-old defendant who was 16 years old at the time he engaged in an extended crime spree resulting in six victims and terrorized a community,” Koch wrote. “Unbeknownst to anyone at the time of the crimes rocking the southwestern portion of Minneapolis, one of the youthful perpetrators (and perhaps both) had a history of mental illness, drug use, and a chaotic childhood marked by involvement with the juvenile justice system — first as the focus of protective services due to situations beyond his control and influence; and then the subject of juvenile justice matters responding to his escalating behavior.”

In three of the incidents between June 2013 and March 2014, Timberlake and other youth followed victims off the Route 6 bus and assaulted them and attempted to rob them, according to court documents. All three victims went to the hospital, two of them with life-threatening cuts or stab wounds. 

At a sentencing hearing March 2, Timberlake offered a “simple apology” to victims for his actions, according to court documents.

In Koch’s sentencing memorandum, he said Timberlake’s mental health and supervision crashed at about the time of most of the offenses. He hadn’t attended school for months, Koch said, and in March 2014, two close family members died and a cousin was shot.

“The three violent March robberies, while not excusable, seem in part to be triggered by a perfect storm of negative factors and influences in Mr. Timberlake’s short life,” Koch said.

Timberlake will serve at least two-thirds of his sentence in prison, Koch said, with up to one-third on supervised release. At a minimum, he would be 27 when released.

“This is an old enough age that he will have matured, yet a young enough age where he can work to rebuild his life,” Koch wrote.

Co-defendant Navarr Jodia Ross, age 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting first-degree aggravated robbery related to an incident involving Timberlake in March 2014 at the Southdale Center parking lot. He was sentenced to 68 months in prison in December. 

Juvenile court records are private for another 13-year-old suspect.

The judge said he received community impact statements from residents, and he mentioned an Armatage community meeting that drew several dozen people last year in response to the incidents.

“Such civic engagement is excellent and to be encouraged,” Koch wrote. “It is also encouraging for the residents of the community since it helps to demonstrate the continued resolve and commitment of the community to not be defined nor cowed by the acts of a very small number of people.”