HARRISONBURG — The day after he learned his co-defendant would spend two decades in prison for robbing a Harrisonburg pharmacy last year, a Warrenton man found out Friday he’d be joining him for the same amount of time.
On Jan. 30, William Fisher, also known as Jake Fisher, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony robbery, two counts of felony abduction and one count of felony use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
During Friday’s sentencing hearing in Rockingham County Circuit Court, Judge T.J. Wilson sentenced him to 63 years in prison with all but 20 years suspended.
As he sentenced the defendant, Wilson noted Fisher’s troubled childhood, which was detailed during the hearing. But he said it was no excuse.
“Citizens have the right to go to work and not have this happen to them,” said Wilson, making reference to those working at the Medicap Pharmacy the day of the robbery.
Fisher’s co-defendant, Bryan Bowers, 25, of Harrisonburg, also pleaded guilty on Jan. 30 to two counts of felony robbery and two counts of felony abduction.
On Thursday, Wilson sentenced Bowers to 60 years in prison with all but 20 years suspended. He also tacked on an additional year in prison for violating the terms of his probation on a previous drug charge.
On Feb. 2, 2012, the two men robbed the Medicap Pharmacy at 1851 Virginia Ave., just north of Harmony Square.
At an earlier hearing, pharmacy owner Mel Anderson testified that two men later identified as Bowers and Fisher entered the business, held him and a co-worker at gunpoint, tied their hands and ordered them to hand over certain drugs.
Police say the men fled the scene with a cache of narcotics and were arrested two days later in Harrisonburg.
‘Afraid To Work’
During the hearing, Fisher’s defense attorney, Humes Franklin, described his client as a good child who became troubled when he was a teenager.
“It’s a tragic and heartbreaking story,” Franklin told Wilson. “A perfect storm of events coming together to send his life spiraling out of control.”
Franklin said Fisher suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, an inherited connective tissue disorder. He also said his client watched his parents go through a divorce and was later molested by a soccer coach that took the role of a father figure after his parents’ split.
Franklin said the coach introduced Fisher to drugs and alcohol, which sparked an addiction that his client still struggles with to this day.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst told the judge that what happened to Fisher was an “explanation, not an excuse.”
Garst said the crime has changed the victims’ lives forever.
“They are not sleeping,” she said. “They are anxious. They are afraid to work.”
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or email@example.com