Two burglary suspects, who are among five men arrested after several armed robberies and burglaries in late 2017, have pleaded guilty in deals with prosecutors.
A former Cumberland resident now incarcerated at a state correctional institution in New Lisbon will be sentenced Wednesday, March 27, after pleading guilty to a reduced felony charge of burglary in connection with a pair of armed robberies in Barron and Chetek in late December 2017, according to Barron County Circuit Court documents.
Jonah S. Blake, 21, made the plea during a Friday, Jan. 25, court hearing. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to seek dismissal of an armed robbery charge that is punishable by up to 40 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
Kelvin B. Lee, 23, of Barron, another suspect charged in connection with two burglaries and armed robberies in late 2017, pleaded guilty to amended charges of felony burglary-dwelling or boat with person present (as party to a crime) and conspiracy to commit burglary-building or dwelling (as party to a crime). Two charges of felony armed robbery (as party to a crime) and one charge of felony burglary-building or dwelling, were dismissed.
Lee is scheduled to return to court on Friday, March 15, for sentencing.
The pleas were entered in connection with events in Barron and Chetek on the night of Dec. 19, 2017. Four intruders wearing masks and carrying a weapon (which later turned out to be a BB gun) entered an apartment in the 300 block of East Birch Avenue, Barron.
Later that night, three men invaded a home in Chetek and held the occupants at gunpoint. One of the people in the home suffered an injury when he was hit with a baseball bat.
At the time of the Jan. 25 hearing, Blake was already serving a three-year sentence imposed in Washburn County in connection with a felony burglary charge, court records said.
Hearings, Jury trial scheduled
Cumberland resident Zachary A. Schwanke, 19, facing burglary and armed robbery charges from Dec. 19, 2017, an armed robbery charge from Nov. 14, 2017, and an attempted burglary charge from Dec. 18, 2017, will appear in court on Friday, Feb. 1, for a plea hearing.
If no plea deal is reached at that time, a two-day jury trial is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Feb. 7 and 8.
Codefendants Ricky Gjerseth, 18, of Black River Falls, and Tyler Rognholt, 18, of Cameron, pleaded guilty to burglary-related charges on Jan. 18. Rognholt will be sentenced Friday, March 1, and Gjerseth will be sentenced March 27.