By Joe Gorman
A 17-year-old receiving an eight-year prison sentence in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Monday was told he needs to learn to think before he reacts blindly.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum told Darrl Mack that he is going to prison for not following that maxim and that if he doesn’t learn it soon, prison will be even tougher for him.
“You need to just — before you react, you need to think,” Judge Krichbaum told him.
Mack was sentenced to four years each on charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. He was given credit for 210 days served in the county jail.
He was accused of robbing a man with a starter’s pistol Oct. 22 and later that day breaking into an apartment of a friend of his armed with the same weapon after he got into an argument with that friend. The robbery and burglary are not related, said Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta.
The sentences were the result of a plea agreement between Brevetta and defense attorney Tony Meranto. As part of the agreement, prosecutors will not oppose a request for judicial release if Mack meets all the criteria when he is eligible to apply. Mack said he was sorry and he wanted to write letters of apology to the victims. He said he wanted to start serving his sentence so he could be released.
Meranto said he thought the deal was fair because of the severity of the crimes. He said he was not making excuses for his client, but he noted that Mack had been in the custody of the county Children Services Board for several years and had a hard upbringing.
“He’s been up against it,” Meranto said.
Meranto said he told his client that either prison can harden him or he can take advantage of education and other programs and better himself.
“Hopefully, he’ll go the right way,” Meranto said.
Judge Krichbaum warned him about lashing out before he thinks, and he asked Mack if it was worth it to act that way and go to prison.
“It’s not worth it,” Mack replied.