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Teens get life sentences in brutal home invasion

Assaulted grandmother had testified in Gwinnett case

By BETH WARREN
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
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A Gwinnett County judge sentenced two teens to each serve back-to-back life sentences for home invasion robbery.

Gwinnett Chief Superior Court Judge Dawson Jackson said youth was not a shield for Darious Dean Emory, 18, and Tavarus Sanders, 16, in the terrorizing crime April12 against a two Lawrenceville grandparents.

Both were convicted last month of forcing their way into Violet and Ulysses Towe's home, robbing them and stealing their sports utility vehicle at gun and knife-point.

The judge also ordered Emory to serve a 20-year-sentence after the life sentences for a sex crime against the 59-year-old woman. The Towes have chosen to publicly discuss their ordeal and their struggle to get past it.

"It's a good sentence," Violet Towe said with a smile as she left the courtroom.

The judge said he was most disturbed by testimony that the teens had threatened to kill the couple and appeared to be headed back to the victims' home after the crime when police stepped in.

Both have juvenile records and Sanders has a pending case before the same judge in connection with the armed robbery of a jewelry store, according to testimony.

Neither teen showed remorse. When the judge announced his sentence, Emory looked toward Violet Towe, put his fingers to his head and made a gesture like he was pulling the trigger of a gun.

Summary:

This was a criminal case I prosecuted while in the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office involving a "robbing crew" and a home invasion of an elderly Gwinnett couple. It originally started as a much larger case, but all except Emory & Sanders entered negotiated plea deals prior to trial or soon afterward. No one was killed, but the victims probably would have been had they not managed to untie themselves and call 911 before Emory, Sanders and their friends returned. Both men gave statements to police, which just made their situations even worse, and DNA was recovered from the scene. The case was featured in an episode of one of those true life crime drama shows on A&E, I think. But trust me, what was portrayed on TV was a G-rated version of an X-rated act.

*I actually have a VHS copy of the episode. The victim, Violet Towe, has written a couple of crime dramas herself. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1/186-6106086-2858019/186-6106086-2858019?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Violet%20Towe&ie=UTF8&search-alias=books&sort=relevancerank

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