D.A. .says crimes against Hispanics will face stern consequences - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

D.A. .says crimes against Hispanics will face stern consequences

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A 25-year old Albany man who ran off during his trial will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Delletorious Stills was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of 14 crimes in a home invasion robbery.

Stills was free on bond during his trail. Wednesday as the jury deliberated, he took off from the Dougherty County courthouse and cut off his ankle monitor. He was recaptured later that afternoon.

Stills was convicted of violently robbing several Hispanic people at gunpoint on Dunes Avenue in March, 2010. Also this week another Albany man was convicted of robbing another Albany Hispanic family at gunpoint in May. The District Attorney says this week's convictions send a clear message that Albany will not stand for attacks on members of our Hispanic community.

Ricardo Gonzalez and six other members of his family are still terrorized by the home invasion robbery they suffered in May.

Gonzalez said "It affects me a lot with my family, wife and kids. My wife still at this point of time can't hardly sleep."

It turned out his next door neighbor, 30 year old Rockney Puckerin, was one of the robbers. This week a jury deliberated less than ten minutes before returning a guilty verdict of armed robbery and aggravated assault against Puckerin.

 District Attorney Greg Edwards said "I hope that the message that we have accomplished with these verdicts is that you are going to suffer the full weight of prosecution to rob anybody. In particular if you want to rob members of the Hispanic population."

Delletorious Stills was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for another robbery of Hispanic people. The D.A. said Hispanics have been targeted for robberies because of urban myths, that Hispanics carry large amounts of cash, and that they will not call law enforcement if robbed. Edwards and Gonzalez said those are not true anymore.

Gonzalez said "They used to, they afraid to face the officer. They think that they not going to listen to them. But I think they know now that the law is on their side."

Edwards said law enforcement will not stand for members of Albany's Hispanic community living in fear, and jurors showed they agreed with swift verdicts.

Edwards said "The citizens that are living her, they are becoming permanent residents. They are part of our community and we are going to give them the full protection of the law."

Gonzalez said he is satisfied that Albany law enforcement is dedicated to protecting him and his family, and hopes the D.A.'s message will prevent further attacks on Hispanic families.

Puckerin has not been sentenced yet.

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