Reading Commons Home Invasion Trio Pleads Guilty, Will Avoid Jail Time
The three remaining suspects in last February's home invasion at Reading Commons pled guilty in Woburn Superior Court this afternoon and, despite the Commonwealth's recommendation, will avoid jail time.
Information issued in a press release from the office of Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone was used in this report.
WOBURN—The three remaining suspects in last February’s Archstone Circle home invasion pled guilty to multiple charges in Woburn Superior Court this afternoon, and, as a result, will receive no jail time.
Jason Molle, 21, of Stoneham, Garret Collins, 22, and Matthew Stratton, 20, both from Reading, pled guilty to charges of home invasion, armed robbery, conspiracy, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery and were sentenced to a total of five years in the Middlesex County House of Corrections, suspended for 30 months, and five years of probation, to run concurrent with the suspended jail sentences, according to the district attorney’s office.
“These defendants have now admitted to attacking and threatening the victim with a firearm inside the victim’s home before robbing him of a significant amount of money and fleeing the scene. These serious, violent actions remain extremely troubling to law enforcement and the Reading community and, due to their severity, we are disappointed that the Court did not see fit to incarcerate the defendants,” District Attorney Leone said in a press release. “I commend the work of the Reading Police Department whose investigation lead to the swift arrest and identification of the defendants and who continue to work tirelessly to keep their community safe.”
The Commonwealth initially sought a sentence of five to seven years in jail, to be followed by five years probation, but Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Gary Inge sentenced the defendants to 2 1/2 years for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and 2 1/2 years on and after for the assault charge. The men received five years probation, to run concurrently, for the other offenses.
The conditions of the probation are as follows: The defendants are ordered to stay away and have no contact with the victim or his family, ordered to remain drug free and subject to random drug screens, ordered to maintain employment or school, ordered to complete 125 hours of community service which must be completed in an education setting or teaching young people about the dangers of drug use, ordered to pay $800 in restitution to the victim, ordered to undergo any mental health or drug treatment as deemed appropriate by a mental health professional or drug evaluation, and ordered to sign any waivers or releases required by probation in order to enforce conditions.
According to Fox News, a lawyer for one of the defendants claimed Junta was the ringleader in the crime.
On Feb. 17, at approximately 12:45 p.m., Reading Police responded to an apartment on Archstone Circle for reports of a home invasion. Upon arrival, the police located the victim, a 19-year-old male, who had sustained an obvious facial injury. The victim told police that Junta and Molle entered his home and displayed a firearm. The defendants then proceeded to assault the victim and stole $800 cash before fleeing the scene in a vehicle.
The experience, understandably, left the victim shaken, and he told police that, following the incident, he waited a short period of time before going to the window and observing Junta and Molle leaving in a vehicle.
Molle was apprehended alone in the getaway vehicle a short time later at Summer Avenue and King Street in Reading.
Authorities immediately began an investigation into the whereabouts of Junta and obtained search warrants for Junta’s home in Reading. An arrest warrant was issued on Feb. 8 for Junta.
Junta turned himself in at the Reading Police Department on Feb. 8, and he and Molle were arraigned in Woburn District Court that afternoon, where District Court Judge Timothy Gailey ordered the pair held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. Collins and Stratton were at the victim’s home and left minutes before Molle and Junta entered the home. Collins and Stratton sent text messages to Molle and Junta detailing how they could gain entry into the home and instructed them to search the victims pockets and bag for money.
The defendants were indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on March 10, 2011. They were arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on May 17, where Middlesex Superior Court Clerk Magistrate Michael Sullivan ordered Molle held on $5,000 cash bail with the conditions that if he post bail he was ordered to remain on a GPS bracelet, stay away from all victims and witnesses in the case, must not commit any new crimes, refrain from the use of drugs and alcohol, maintain employment and maintain school. Collins was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail with the same conditions, excluding a GPS bracelet, as well as the additional condition that he must remain in a treatment program. Stratton was ordered held on $1,000 cash bail with the same conditions excluding a GPS bracelet.