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Two plead guilty in apartment complex armed robberies


– Two men accused of participating in a string of violent armed robberies at Fort Wayne apartment complexes this year have pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

Devonte Hamlet, 21, of the 3500 block of Smith Street admitted his involvement in the crimes. He pleaded guilty Friday to nine of the 16 charges against him.

Michael L. Jefferson, 22, of California pleaded guilty Thursday to six of the 12 charges he faced.

The charges they pleaded guilty to included robbery, criminal confinement and burglary.

The armed robberies scared residents throughout the city.

Victims were confronted by armed men; some victims were tied up and assaulted.

In a Jan. 10 robbery at Island Club Apartments, near East Wallen and Auburn roads, a toddler and her parents were bound with duct tape, according to court documents.

Hamlet’s fingerprints were on that duct tape, as well as on a garbage bag filled with loot found at the scene.

In another robbery that night, Jefferson and Hamlet bound three men in a unit at Cambridge Square Apartments, near Coldwater and East Cook roads.

That robbery ended badly for Hamlet when one of the victims freed himself, grabbed a handgun from a closet and shot Hamlet as he fled.

A few minutes later, Hamlet showed up at Parkview Hospital with a gunshot wound, according to court documents.

Along with the two Jan. 10 robberies, Hamlet was charged with two apartment holdups reported the night of Jan. 7.

Because multiple people were victimized in each robbery, the charges added up. Hamlet was arrested Jan. 22.

Had he been convicted of all 16 charges, Hamlet faced more than 100 years in prison.

Under the terms of his plea agreement with prosecutors, his sentence will be left to the discretion of Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull but cannot be more than 70 years.

The seven charges still pending will be dismissed when Hamlet is sentenced Feb. 14.

As part of his plea agreement, Jefferson will be sentenced to a total of 64 years in prison, with 10 years suspended and four years on probation, according to court documents.

Jefferson will be sentenced in early March, and the six charges still pending will be dismissed.

Two other men were charged with receiving stolen property in connection with the robberies. Corey Harris and Tiron Beard each pleaded guilty in October and will be sentenced in March.