A man accused of setting friends up to be robbed in their homes by a masked gunman will spend two years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to home invasion.
Judge Ron Mullins sentenced 51-year-old Darryl Lee Solomon to 10 years with two to serve and the rest on probation for one of the two incidents on Oct. 27, 2015, in the East Highland area.
Among the incriminating evidence was the still-unidentified gunman’s volunteering to victims that Solomon was not involved, telling them, “Lee has nothing to do with this.”
The first incident happened about 12:40 a.m. in the 1100 block of 21st Street, where Solomon knocked on the door to borrow money from a friend, then 54, who lived there.
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Prosecutor George Lipscomb said the friend was accustomed to Solomon’s coming by for money, as Solomon occasionally would go to the store and bring the resident back some lottery tickets.
This time was different: Right after Solomon stepped off the porch, a masked man with a gun ran up, put the weapon to the resident’s head and ordered him inside. Solomon followed.
Inside the gunman held Solomon’s friend and the man’s family at gunpoint as he took the resident’s wallet and $200. Others in the home included a 74-year-old man, 53-year-old woman and 15-year-old boy, police said.
Eventually the 54-year-old was able to get away, lock himself in a back bathroom and call police, investigators said. The gunman tried to pry the bathroom door open, but the victim held it closed until the two intruders left.
At 12:50 a.m., Solomon showed up at a friend’s home on 14th Avenue and asked for a cigarette. As the victim reached for a smoke, the same gunman came up and put a gun to his head. The resident heard a gunshot as he ran back inside. Looking back out, he saw Solomon and the gunman leave.
Arrested in the 2400 block of 16th Avenue a few hours later, Solomon was charged with aggravated assault in the second case, but that count was dropped as part of the plea agreement defense attorney Jennifer Curry arranged with Lipscomb.
In court Monday, Solomon spoke to the friend he first betrayed, saying, “I’m sorry. I apologize.” They shook hands.
Also in court was a woman whose late mother had lived in the 21st Street home. She said fear of the gunman’s return haunted her mother until her death this past January. “They all could have been killed,” the woman said of her family, recalling what her mother would say when someone entered the house: “Close that door or that fool will come in here and kill all of us.”
Lipscomb said Solomon never disclosed any information about the gunman.
“They were hoping he would reveal the identity of the gunman,” the prosecutor said of police. “But he would not.”