Two Detroit poker robbers were sentenced this week for their part in an armed robbery on a home game in the area last summer.
Toursean Carnail-Lavan Pressley and Jemantae Kayon Perkins, both 23, were part of a gang of five men who broke into a “poker party” at a house in Genoa Township in June, robbing 14 players of cash, cellphones, keys and two bottles of wine at gunpoint.
Pressley, who prosecutors said was one of the group’s leaders, was sentenced to 20 to 50 years in for 13 counts of armed robbery, and to 12 to 20 years for first-degree home invasion, to run concurrently.
Perkins, the getaway driver, who did not enter the house, was identified by prosecutors as the “least culpable” in the crime and received 10.5 to 40 years in prison for 13 counts of armed robbery and to 10.5 to 20 years for a single count of home invasion.
Co-defendants codefendants Tyler Terrill Ayers, 25, and Terence Montrel Ayers, 22, have each pled guilty to 14 counts of felony firearms and to felonious assault charges, respectively, and will be sentenced in April.
The fifth man, Kenneth Carnail Whitby, 44, will be tried in April on charges of home invasion, armed robbery and resisting police.
Whitby, who is Pressley’s uncle, had allegedly lost large sums of money at the poker game and was out for revenge. This also meant that he knew exactly how to gain access to the house.
In a witness testimony, one victim described how a gun was pointed at his head, while one of the robbers counted down from five. Another player was beaten with a baton.
“I can’t forget having a gun held to my head and the feel of their breath on the back of my neck,’” said one player. “I can still feel their breath to this day. It was intense.”
An alert was put out on the defendants’ vehicle which was spotted later that night by a patrol car and pulled over, but the suspects fled on foot. All five were apprehended in the area the following day.
Perkin’s lawyer had argued that, as the driver, he had been unaware of the intentions of his friends, a premise ultimately rejected by the judge.
Pressley, whose attorney asked that the judge take into consideration his learning difficulties and mental health issues, wept on hearing the sentence.
“I truly apologize. It was the stupidest mistake, stupidest mistake I made in my life,” he said. “I have to deal with it the rest of my life. That’s it.”