Teen gets branded a felon for life for robbing man of 7 cents

A 15-year-old from Syracuse, Anthony Stewart, was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in a juvenile detention facility by Judge William Walsh of Onandaga County for a robbery in which the teenager took a mere 7 cents.

Walsh said he issued the harsh sentence because Stewart declined to plead guilty, choosing to fight the charges. A jury found him guilty of first degree robbery.

The victim had identified Stewart and a friend as the perpetrators, Walsh said, "and yet you still denied it," the Post-Standard newspaper of Syracuse reported.

"Well, that cost you," Walsh added.

The other teenager, Skyler Ninham, 16, pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to 1 to 4 years in prison.

Stewart and Ninham carried BB guns that looked like real pistols when they knocked a 73-year old man to the ground--Stewart punching him in the face--and took all the cash he had on him, prosecutors said. That amounted to 7 cents.

Stewart's lawyer, Laurin Haddad, had pleaded with Walsh to treat her client as a youthful offender, so that a felony conviction wouldn't remain on his permanent record.

"For 7 cents, now you're making someone a felon for the rest of his life," Haddad told the Post-Standard.