The man who hired a hitman to gun down Elliott Bailey and Travontae Calloway and the man who led the killer to the victims will each spend at least 40 years in prison.
Anthony Robins Jr., 36, and Samari P. Winn, 35, could spend the rest of their lives in prison if they’re unable to convince the state’s parole board to release them after serving the minimum.
Ada County District Judge Samuel Hoagland sentenced Robins, from Fremont, Calif., on Tuesday, while Winn, a Boise resident, received his sentence Wednesday morning from Judge Lynn Norton.
Each also was given 15 years for the shooting and injury of Calloway’s girlfriend, Jeanette Juraska.. That sentence will run concurrently to two counts each of aiding and abetting first-degree murder.
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Norton told Winn she would have sentenced him to consecutive terms for the murders of Bailey and Calloway, punishing him separately for the two lives. However, she said that since Hoagland structured Robins’ sentence so that the two charges would be served at the same time, she would not give Winn a harsher sentence.
In both hearings, the judges heard how Robins and Winn had known the victims for years in California and in Boise and considered them close friends.
Deputy Ada County Prosecutor Shelley Akamatsu told the judges that the two defendants turned on their friends after they were suspected of stealing $100,000 worth of marijuana stored at a house in Boise that Robins used when he was in town.
“They were murdered solely because Anthony Robins ordered it and directed it to happen,” Akamatsu told Hoagland. “They were executed by a man Robins flew in to Boise,”
That man, John C. Douglas, 46, of Reading, Pa., was convicted in February of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder, for the injury to Juraska. Douglas is scheduled to appear before Hoagland for sentencing Aug. 23.
Akamatsu told how both Robins and Winn before and after their convictions complained to friends and family members that they were being prosecuted because of their African-American race. The prosecutor strongly denied that assertion.
“This case is not about race. It’s about murder — cold-blooded, heartless and premeditated murder,” she told Hoagland.
On Tuesday, Ellesse Williams, Bailey’s sister, told Winn he could have stopped what happened by speaking up.
“Those were your friends,” she said. “This should not have turned out like that.”
Williams thanked prosecutors for their efforts, saying she believed the killers would have gotten away with the executions had they taken place in Northern California, where all the men grew up and where Robins resided most of the time.
“Did you really think you could come to Boise, Idaho, and folks would let you get away with this?” she said to Winn.
Robins declined to address Hoagland before he imposed the sentence.
Winn told Norton that he was not guilty of any crime and that he wasn’t even at Calloway’s South Orchard Street residence, where the murders took place on May 9, 2014.
He addressed Williams’ criticism of him not speaking up before his friends were gunned down.
“It wasn’t a situation of me not speaking up. It’s a situation of me not knowing,” Winn said.
He told Norton he had gone to the duplex earlier in the evening to celebrate Calloway’s birthday, but that he was at his home in West Boise when the murders took place. That contradicts trial testimony from Juraska, who said she answered the front door and saw Winn before he was pushed aside by a man she knew as “Big Man” and later identified as Douglas.
“I wasn’t at the door when they got shot. I was at home,” Winn said.
He also denied picking Douglas up at the Boise Airport after he flew in from Philadelphia. Winn said his roommate, Anton Raider, went for Douglas.
Raider, now 23, testified that Robins had supplied him with marijuana and cocaine to sell since he was 16 or 17. He said Robins became angry after the 30 pounds of marijuana were stolen from the house where he lived on West Red Maple Court and where Robins stayed when he was in town. Raider said Robins scheduled the killings on Calloway’s birthday.
Raider pleaded guilty last year to a state charge of aiding and abetting murder and a federal charge of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug crime. He was sentenced to five years in prison, a sentence Winn’s attorney, Randall Barnum, said was too light given Raider’s involvement in the murders.
Raider supplied the van Robins used to drive Douglas and Winn to the apartment. He also provided Robins with the handgun later given to Douglas to carry out the killings and cleaned out the van afterward.
Winn said Raider and Juraska perjured themselves while on the stand.
“The witnesses lied with a straight face,” said Winn, who denied that he was a drug dealer.
Norton told Winn the jury that convicted him found the evidence against him met the legal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
“You involved yourself in the planning and the execution of two people and the planned execution of another to protect the drug trade you had developed here in Boise,” Norton told Winn.
Hoagland was not swayed by numerous letters submitted by family members and friends of Robins, who painted him as kind, selfless and caring. They described Robins as a role model and someone who had great moral character.
“He is one of the most polite, respectful and humble clients that I’ve had the pleasure of representing in my 20-some-odd years of doing this,” defense attorney Scott McKay said.
Robins either led a double life or the people who provided the glowing praise for him ignored his criminal activity, which involved growing and distributing marijuana to dealers in multiple states for many years, Akamatsu said.