BROOKSVILLE - In Judge Daniel Merritt Jr.'s nearly empty courtroom on Thursday morning, Edgeton Everett took deep breaths and wiped away tears before being sentenced to 10 years in the Florida Department of Corrections.
Everett, 21, pleaded no contest to the charge of principal to a robbery with a firearm in exchange for the sentence.
If convicted, Everett could have received a maximum sentence of life in prison or $15,000 fine.
Assistant State Attorney Rob Lewis said that on April 11, 2012, Everett and a co-defendant, Elbert P. Hall, 20, arrived at a 173 Hickory St. apartment to purchase marijuana. Shortly after the two Bushnell men arrived, three masked men "rushed in," and Everett and Hall pulled out firearms, which they used to pistol whip Amber Murwin and Heather Beyer before leaving with the drugs, a laptop and firearm.
Hernando Today previously reported Brooksville Police recovered 34 grams of marijuana from the apartment. In October 2012, Murwin was arrested on charges of marijuana possession and avoided an adjudication of guilt through a pre-trial diversion program in January 2013.
Although both women refused medical attention at the time, a medical bill for $1,262.72 will be split as restitution to be paid by Everett and Hall.
Everett was picked up on a warrant by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office on August 20, 2012, and booked on charges of home invasion robbery with a firearm. Everett remained in jail for 30 days before being released on $50,000 bond.
After adjudicating Everett guilty, Merritt told him "10 years is a long time but in the span of your life, it's not the entirety of your life."
"When you come out, you'll have the opportunity to be a productive citizen again and make better decisions, " Merritt said, before wishing Everett good luck.
"My son has a good heart," said Shirley Everett, Edgeton Everett's mother, as she left the courthouse.
Shirley Everett explained her son - the baby of the family - became involved with people who don't care about consequences in life.
Shirley Everett's said though her son was represented by Ray Shaw of the Public Defender's office, she had previously consulted with a private attorney about her son's case.
"He told me prejudice still exists," Everett said, adding she hadn't seen any evidence herself other than "he said, she said."
Everett said as much as she didn't want to believe it, the case came down to the testimony of "two white girls" versus "two black guys."
On Wednesday, Merritt accepted a plea deal that sentenced Hall to 9.5 years in prison, followed by two years of probation, for the same charge.