Teen-ager charged in robbery and beating

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

A 16-year-old has been charged with three counts of aggravated robbery, third-degree assault and fifth-degree assault, and may face charges as an adult.

The charges result from an incident Tuesday night when the juvenile and two others entered the upper apartment at 405 W. College St. and demanded money and drugs from several men, police said.

James Gonzales, 29, a resident of the building, said the juvenile banged on the door outside the house, saying that he had cigarettes for his roommate, who Gonzales said doesn’t smoke.

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Eventually the three were let in, and the juvenile had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, a long pipe and a pistol, Gonzales said. &uot;He didn’t waste any time with demands. &045; ‘Empty your pockets. Empty your pockets,’&uot; Gonzales yelled, imitating the assailant.

Gonzales said he, his brother Willy, 33, and 20-year-old Ben Haukoos gave them some items. At one point the juvenile punched Willy in the head twice, and began to punch Haukoos, he said.

&uot;Ben went down after a couple punches, and then they started kicking him,&uot; Gonzales said. According to police, Haukoos was beaten further by the juvenile or his accomplice after leaving the house. Police caught up with Haukoos near Washington Avenue; he was later hospitalized, said Albert Lea Police Detective Frank Cole.

The juvenile came back to 405 College St. 15 minutes after the initial assault and asked the Gonzales brothers to step outside, James Gonzales said. The juvenile had Willy Gonzales carry a box of spray paint cans the juvenile intended to steal, but the cops intervened and arrested the juvenile.

The night was not the first in which the juvenile had allegedly harassed Gonzales. James said last Thursday that the juvenile entered his apartment and punched him several times and accused him of talking behind his back. He said he didn’t call police because &uot;I thought he was just drunk. That it was just a one-time thing and he probably wouldn’t do it again,&uot; James Gonzales said. He said doesn’t know why the juvenile has been bothering him.

Cole said he is still interviewing witnesses to get a description of the two accomplices. The juvenile has not given a statement under the advice of his attorney.

Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said he wants the juvenile charged as an adult. The matter will be decided within a month or two, and decisions are based on the severity of the crime and the maturity of the criminal. Generally, juvenile punishments are aimed at correcting behavior and the court will decide whether or not that’s a waste of time for this 16-year-old, he said.

(Contact Tim Sturrock at tim.sturrock @albertleatribune.com or 379-3438.)