A Plymouth County Superior Court judge sentenced an Oklahoma man to at least six years in state prison for an attempted home invasion on May 21, 2012 after a plea of- fering last week.
Brett Roderick, 21, pleaded guilty to several charges in Plymouth Superior Court in Brockton on Wednesday, including unlawful possession of a firearm and attempted home invasion. Roderick, who was 19 at the time of the attempted home invasion, was given a sentence of no less than six years and no more than seven and a half years at Massachusetts Correction Institution Cedar Junction at Walpole.
By pleading guilty to the charges, Roderick waived his rights for a trial by judge or jury. Roderick pleaded innocent to eight armed assault and firearms-related charges in a July 2012 arraignment, when a $500,00 bail was set by Judge Joseph Walker III.
The sentencing request from Assistant District Attorney Richard Linehan for each of the charges was in the higher end of the range according to the guidelines, including no less than 10 years for two counts of attempted murder and no less than six years for a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm while committing a felony, to run concurrently.
Defense attorney Liam Scully said he had not made specific recommendations for each of the eight charges, but asked the court to impose a sentence totaling five years to five years and one day. Judge Robert Cosgrove indicated to the attor- neys it was likely the sentencing would be somewhere in the area of six to seven and a half years.
Scully referred to Roderick’s past history with drug abuse, as well as his prior criminal record from Oklahoma, where he was charged with armed robbery, which carries a high potential penalty in that state.
“My recommendation is based on the very low end of the guidelines,” Scully said. “Seven and a half years in state prison is a significant sentence. Sometimes we forget the significance of youth and how many problems are caused when someone who is not fully mentally developed is in a circumstance such as this.”
Linehan read an account of facts from the May 21 incident. At about 10:40 p.m. on May 21, Roderick knocked on the front door of the house of off-duty Duxbury Police detective Daniel Brown and asked to be let in. Brown saw Roderick had a firearm and he closed and locked the doors to his house and dialed 911.
Duxbury police K9 officer Ryan Cavicchi and Sergeant Dennis Symmonds pursued the suspect into the woods near Duxborough Trail after Officer Mary Ellen Vidito had ordered the suspect to present himself with his arms raised. Cavicchi and Symmonds received indi- cation from K9 officer Zar that they were on the correct trail of the suspect when gunshots were fired from approximately 30 yards out. Cavicchi said he heard the bullet go past his head. After waiting several seconds, the officer continued pursuit and heard another gunshot, this time closer. After the suspect was located at the edge of a police perimeter, a subsequent search of the woods revealed a loaded 9-milimeter handgun and two spent shell casings.
After hearing the facts of the case, Roderick confirmed his guilty plea and agreed to waive his rights. Officer Brown was then invited to make a comment to the judge.
“I respectfully request you give him the maximum sentence allowable according to the guidelines,” Brown said. “This gentleman planned and executed a home invasion and I am sure he wishes he had chosen a different house. Had he chosen a different house, he could potentially be having a different outcome.”
Brown continued, saying Officer Cavicchi has two young children and Officer Symmonds has three children, “all of whom could be fatherless had he shot them.”
Linehan said the recom- mendation from the commonwealth of not less than 10 years combined the attempted home invasion with the shooting at police officers.
“I am not sure which is more serious, the invasion or shooting at the police,” he said. “He wasn’t shooting up in the air to scare people away. The facts of this case are very serious.”
Scully agreed with Linehan that the facts of the case were serious and highlighted the issues Roderick dealt with after coming to Duxbury, including homelessness and drug addiction.
“He not only scared and traumatized the Brown family and put the officers at risk, he also perhaps demolished his own life,” Scully said. “He was a very scared and mentally disorganized young man running amuck in Duxbury. It is a tragedy on all ends. Fortunately, no one was physically hurt.”
Judge Cosgrove said the facts of the case must be treated with the utmost seriousness and, as a citizen, applauded the restraint of the officers in not returning fire when fired upon.
“It strikes me that Officer Brown was terrified not for himself but for his family,” he said. “I have to agree with him its fortunate fate led the defendant to his door and not some- one much less equipped to react during such dangerous and emotional circumstances.”
Roderick will serve his sentence at Cedar Junction in Walpole and at the Plymouth House of Correction.