The man convicted of orchestrating a stick-up with two other men near the Takoma Metro station earlier this year was sentenced to 32 years in prison Thursday.
“He’s a dedicated criminal,” Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Zarrella told Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Richard Jordan before he sentenced Daquan Tyler. Jordan handed down a sentence of 66 years, suspending all but 32 years.
Tyler, 20, of Silver Spring, had been convicted by a jury in August of 10 charges, including three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, three counts of first degree assault and a count of solicitation of witness intimidation.
According to court records and prosecutors, the crime was random and took place in a busy area.
Three men were walking on Cedar Avenue late in the evening on New Year’s Day 2013, when two masked men approached them and pointed handguns equipped with red laser sights at them. When one victim didn’t surrender his money fast enough, one of the robbers told him “You have 5 seconds to give me your money.”
Thomas Tamm, Tyler’s public defender, said that Tyler was “going in the wrong direction.”
“He needs to wake up and smell the roses, and he recognizes that,” Tamm said.
“This is the type of crime that makes people afraid to leave their homes,” said Zarrella, who argued that Tyler deserved more time than his co-conspirators because he was a “dedicated criminal.”
The two men who helped Tyler in the Jan. 1 robbery have already been convicted or pleaded guilty. Joshua “Fats” Baylor, 20, of Severn was the lookout for the crime. He pleaded guilty on July 24, and will be sentenced Sept. 4.
Kyree Jordan, 19, of D.C. pleaded guilty on Aug. 15, and was given a five-year prison sentence on the same day.
Both Jordan and Baylor are members of the Maple Avenue Crew, a Montgomery County gang, according to prosecutors.
Tyler had also been accused of witness intimidation. Investigators discovered that Tyler had tried to get his friends to stop Baylor from testifying in court, according to court records. Police found a photo on Jordan’s phone of a letter Tyler wrote to Jordan on the back of his charging documents. The letter asked Jordan to stop Baylor from testifying.
Investigators tracked Tyler down after arresting Baylor on Feb. 20, according to prosecutors.
On Feb. 15, investigators searched Tyler’s house, and found one of the guns used in the crime — a black revolver with a red laser scope — in a dog house behind Tyler’s house.
Zarrella said in court that investigators had to “virtually wade in stolen property” found at Tyler’s house and that they found stolen items belong to 32 separate victims.
In court, Tyler spoke frankly about himself and the charges against him.
“I am a PCP user,” he said. “I live in a house full of criminals.”
He also said he was not in a gang, echoing claims that other defense attorneys have made in the case.
“Just because I live on a certain street, that doesn’t make us a certain way,” he said.
He disputed the witness intimidation charges against him. “I never wanted anybody to get hurt,” he said.
After the proceedings, Tyler’s older brother — who did not identify himself by name — said Tyler descended into criminality after his father died while on a bicycle ride in 2004.
“You can draw right from that day to today ... after that he was very angry,” he said.
Investigators also found a notebook that Tyler had in prison, Zarrella said. Tyler told Jordan it was for a book he wanted to write.
Tyler had written “Always remember that in the life of crime there is no margin of error,” she said.