A man — who along with a former Roswell police officer, had taken part in a 2016 armed robbery — was sentenced Tuesday.
Judge Dustin Hunter sentenced Kevin Blake, 26, of Roswell, during a sentencing hearing in 5th Judicial District Court.
Blake will serve a portion of his sentence — six and a half years — in prison, while the remainder of the sentence was suspended. He will be on supervised probation for five years upon completion of his time in prison. The sentence was recommended by the prosecution.
After being allowed a few moments with his family, Blake was remanded into the custody of Chaves County deputies.
Although the case took place in the 5th Judicial District — comprised of Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties — the District Attorney’s office for the 12th Judicial District had been appointed to prosecute the case.
Blake was sentenced on one charge of armed robbery, one charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and one charge of armed robbery with a firearm enhancement. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August 2017.
His accomplice, Valerie Palombi, 27, and a Roswell police officer from 2014 to 2016, was found guilty last week after a three-day trial on charges of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of resisting an officer. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 14.
The charges stem from a June 28, 2016 armed robbery of a Subway restaurant.
Blake entered the restaurant at about 9:30 p.m. and ordered a sandwich. When the employee turned to get the bread to make it, Blake took out a gun and aimed it at the employee. He then forced the employee to lead him into a back room of the restaurant where another employee was washing dishes, and held both of them at gunpoint.
Palombi then entered the restaurant while Blake held the employees in the back room and took $600 from the register.
Blake and Palombi were both arrested days later.
At the sentencing hearing, Blake’s attorney Julita Leavell asked for Blake’s sentence to be suspended entirely, citing his cooperation with law enforcement and the prosecution in the case. Blake had taken responsibility for his actions and did not need to go to prison to repay his debt to society, Leavell said.
Timothy Nucci, an assistant District Attorney from the 12th Judicial District, said though that Blake had been cooperative and that his testimony was key in the case against Palombi — armed robbery is a serious offense.
Before Hunter formally sentenced him, Blake and his parents asked the judge for leniency. Tom Blake — Kevin Blake’s father — told the court that his son has cleaned up his own life in recent months.
“He’s not only welcome, he is wanted in our home,” Tom Blake said.
Neither of the two victims were in the courtroom for the sentencing hearing. Kevin Blake told the court that he wished the victims were at the hearing so he could apologize to them.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org