Victim of home invasion says defendants 'got off fairly lucky'

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - An emotional courtroom hearing sentenced two former Citadel cadets and a former College of Charleston student to 30 years in prison Tuesday.

Miguel Starks, Reggie Rice and Stephen Francois were found guilty for their roles in two home invasion robberies last year. However, one of the victims thinks the defendants got off too easy.

"30 years for two home invasions, two armed robberies and two kidnappings," said victim Josh Harpe. "They got a pretty good deal. They got off fairly lucky."

Harpe is a former assistant football coach at the Citadel and says he hasn't been able to sleep in a year after experiencing the home invasion.

"I'm glad that the three guys that committed this act are going to jail for 30 years," said the former coach. "At the same time I do feel bad for their families. They're losing sons today for 30 years that's a tough pill to swallow for them and I do I feel sorry for them."

Police say the trio robbed Harpe at his West Ashley apartment. Authorities say the suspects held Harpe at gunpoint, tied him up and stole electronics, jewelry and his wallet.

At the hearing, families of the defendants tearfully apologized for their sons' actions and after the judge gave his sentencing, emotions rose so high that Starks' mother passed out in the hallway outside of the courtroom.

"That's the first time I've actually seen them face-to-face since the incident happened," Harpe admitted after the sentencing. "It was an emotional time. It was just tough."

Starks also pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a former Citadel cadets girlfriend during the other home invasion. The charge carries a five-year sentence, but Starks will serve that term during serving his 30-year sentence.

Two other co-defendants have yet to be sentenced.

Breanna Bruster pleaded guilty in February and is out on bond. She was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, but has been rescheduled. Former College of Charleston student Sasha Gaskins is the fifth suspect and is also set to be sentenced.

She was found guilty at the beginning of March of armed robbery and kidnapping.

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