ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Erie police spent years investigating a series of robberies that left two people dead in the summer of 2018. Calvin Isaiah, 24, and Phillip Anthony Clark, 44, were shot to death in robberies of drugs and money. Three defendants, convicted in November, received lengthy sentences for crimes Judge David Ridge deemed “horrible offenses.”
The crime spree drew national attention, shocking the local community and leading to a two-week trial that was described as one of the longest and most complex criminal trials at the Erie County Courthouse in recent years. The three defendants, Raeshawn D. McCallum, 24, Destin A. Dortch, 22, and Christopher J. Bridges, 22, were convicted in the fatal shootings and robberies of two drug dealers and in a home-invasion robbery, all in the summer of 2018.
McCallum, Dortch, and Bridges were all tried as adults, even though they were juveniles at the time of the crimes. Despite their young ages, they were each handed lengthy sentences for their involvement in the crimes.
The families of the victims and the prosecutor, Chief Erie County Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Lightner, called for lengthy sentences for the defendants. They emphasized the severity of the crimes and the impact on the victims’ families, urging the judge to hold the defendants accountable for their actions.
The defense lawyers representing the defendants tried to argue for more lenient sentences, suggesting that the defendants were influenced by two codefendants who cooperated with the prosecution. However, the judge largely rejected this argument and ordered consecutive sentences to ensure that the overall sentence accounted for the harm done to all the victims.
The culmination of the trial left Judge Ridge at a loss for words, expressing his disbelief at the events that occurred in the community and calling the crimes “beyond comprehension.” The courtroom heard from the families of the victims, who mourned their loved ones and asked the judge for stiff sentences for the defendants. Overall, the sentences given to the three defendants reflect the severity of the crimes committed and the lasting impact on the community.
In conclusion, the tragic series of events in Erie in 2018 have forever changed the lives of the victims’ families and the community at large. The lengthy sentences given to the defendants are a reflection of the severity of their crimes and the profound effect on all those involved. The senseless loss of life in these crimes highlights the importance of seeking justice and holding individuals accountable for their actions.