Man sentenced to 18 years for violent home invasion

BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A 19-year-old was sentenced to 18 years in prison for a violent home invasion that took place at a house in Beaufort County.

Robert Curnell of Port Royal pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, armed robbery and possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime Thursday afternoon.

Court officials say on Aug. 14, 2011, Curnell and four other suspects kicked in the door of a home on 16th Street in Port Royal and brutally, and repeatedly beat the resident, a 21-year-old man.

The suspects wore bandanas to cover their faces and were armed with a handgun. They stole a number of items including two televisions, guitars and other electronics.
A Beaufort County Sheriff's Deputy en route to the scene spotted the suspects in a car and pulled them over on Jericho Road. Authorities say several of the suspects had blood on their clothing, and the stolen items and revolver were recovered from the vehicle.
Curnell, who had previous convictions for burglary and malicious injury to personal property, told the court that he did not know the victim and went along with the crime even though he knew it was wrong because he did not want to be perceived as weak

"To participate in a home invasion and beating for no other reason than to go along with the rest of the crowd makes him both weak and dangerous," said Solicitor Duffie Stone.

Curnell is the second suspect to plead guilty to the home invasion.

In May, 20-year-old Zach Findlay pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Under state law, both men will be required to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences, which were handed down by Judge Carmen T. Mullen.

The cases against three other co-defendants are pending.

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