Man gets 6-year term for 2 armed robberies

By Ed Runyan

The robberies took place near some vacant townhouses on Woodhurst Drive in Austintown.

YOUNGSTOWN — A second man was sentenced to prison for his role in the armed robberies of two pizza delivery drivers in Austintown in November.

Matthew Sarra, 23, of Clifton Drive, Boardman, received a prison sentence of six years on Friday. He will be eligible for parole after serving three years and six months in prison, said J. Michael Thompson, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor.

“It saddens me that a young man with a family who cares about him ... has to go to prison,” Judge R. Scott Krichbaum said in Mahoning County Common Pleas court during Serra’s sentencing hearing.

Judge Krichbaum noted that Serra has “virtually no criminal history” as a juvenile or adult, but said “somebody who commits an aggravated robbery is going to go to prison.”

Sarra used a knife during each of two robberies within a couple blocks of each other outside some vacant townhouses on Woodhurst Drive. The robberies occurred Nov. 11 and Nov. 25.

Serra pleaded guilty in February to two counts of aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Austintown Patrolman Justin Coulter was in the area on a drug investigation when the second robbery took place and witnessed the incident. He arrested Sarra and his accomplice — Marc A. Haney of Kerrybrook Drive in Austintown. Police returned the stolen wallet, $49 in cash and cell phone to the victim shortly afterward.

Both men admitted the robberies.

In April, Judge Krichbaum sentenced Haney to nine years in prison with parole eligibility after 61‚Ñ2 years, despite Haney’s also having no previous criminal history. Haney used a gun in the second robbery.

Judge Krichbaum asked Sarra why he and Haney committed the robberies, and Sarra said “to get money for drugs.”

As his family sat in court, Sarra apologized to the court and the state of Ohio.

“Regardless of whether I am a drug addict or not, there’s no excuse for what I did to these people,” he said.

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