PITTSFIELD — A North Egremont man has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail in a botched robbery case the Judge Daniel Ford said "evoked memories of The Three Stooges."
Theodore Labonte, 22, pleaded guilty to eleven charges connected to the attempt to rob a pair of men at gunpoint under the guise of a marijuana sale in August 2014.
Labonte admitted he took part in the plan to lure two men to Bridle Path Road in Great Barrington with the intent of robbing them.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Richard Locke said it was Labonte's suggestion to use a shotgun to scare the men into handing over whatever cash they brought.
The shotgun, which belonged to the mother of one of the co-defendants in the case, Andrew Dupont, was functioning but not loaded during the robbery, Locke said.
Dupont, wearing a mask, sprang out with the shotgun and demanded the money.
One of the men ran into the woods and Dupont threw the unloaded weapon at him, but missed. Dupont tackled him and began beating him.
The victim was able to escape and eventually contacted police.
The other victim allegedly was ordered by the men into their vehicle and was forced to call his friend to try and get the money from him. He was eventually kicked out of the car and was found by police walking on Seekonk Cross Road.
Labonte did not get any cash from the victims, but he did take the driver's license from one of them, which he was later found in possession of.
Both victims knew the others involved in the crime, Locke said.
Locke said Labonte was cooperative and wanted to take responsibility for his role in the crime, which factored in to the agreed-upon plea recommendation between Locke and Labonte's attorney, Francis O'Brien.
In all, Labonte pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday to two counts each of assault with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit armed assault with intent to rob, conspiracy to commit assault with a dangerous weapon and one count each of kidnapping while being armed with a firearm, intimidation of a witness, illegal possession of a rifle or shotgun, conspiracy to commit armed robbery while masked, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping while being armed with a firearm.
Four other charges, two counts of armed assault with intent to rob and one count each of armed robbery while masked and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony were dropped by the state.
When Labonte finishes his jail sentence, he will be on two years probation, during which time he must remain drug and alcohol free and submit to random screenings, among other conditions.
Dupont pleaded guilty to similar charges in March and sentenced to two years in jail, followed by two years probation.
A third co-defendant, Louis Ely, also pleaded guilty in March to five conspiracy charges connected to the case and was sentenced to a year in jail followed by two years probation.
Labonte was given credit for 341 days of time already served.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Great Barrington Police Department.
Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.