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Man sentenced to prison for robbery, despite efforts to withdraw guilty plea

Man sentenced to prison for robbery, despite efforts to withdraw guilty plea


CROWN POINT — Despite efforts to withdraw his guilty plea, Roberto Pettigrew-Sanders was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for his role in a Munster robbery.

The defendant will serve an additional two years probation and two years in a work-release program after he completes his prison term, as per the terms of his plea agreement.

Pettigrew-Sanders, 26, of Dolton, Illinois, was accused of shooting a woman in the arm Feb 3. during an attempted car-jacking at the FedEx Distribution Center, 101 45th St., in Munster.

Pettigrew-Sanders and a co-defendant, Hexadore C. Randall, were arrested after the shooting at a fitness center in the 9900 block of Calumet Avenue.

Pettigrew-Sanders pleaded guilty July 17 to robbery, a level 3 felony, in Lake Criminal Court, but filed a motion the next month asking to withdraw from his plea agreement.

The state objected, noting a judgement of conviction had been entered. 

Pettigrew-Sanders said at Thursday's court hearing he did not feel like his public defender, Derrick Julkes, did an adequate job investigating the allegations against him before he entered the plea agreement.

He said he only accepted the plea because he couldn't fire Julkes.

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Watson said he and Julkes worked hard to prepare for trial, and then reversed course when Pettigrew-Sanders said he wanted to accept a plea agreement.

Now Pettigrew-Sanders wants to back out of the plea and go to trial. Watson said he believed the defendant was “gaming the system a little bit.”

Judge Samuel L. Cappas said the defendant was fully advised of his rights during the plea hearing, and he agreed to waive those rights and pleaded guilty to robbery. 

Cappas ordered Pettigrew-Sanders to serve the time agreed to in the plea deal. 

The state agreed to dismiss charges of attempted murder, robbery, battery and two firearm offenses as part of the plea agreement. 


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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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