• Man who lost 2 friends during botched robbery sentenced to prison for his role

    By: KATE IIDA, The News Tribune

    Updated:

    TACOMA, Wash. - A man arrested in connection with an attempted robbery that turned fatal was sentenced Tuesday in the Pierce County Superior Court.

    Jeremy Phillip Dubois, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree burglary in a second, unrelated case.

    Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck sentenced him to 12 months and a day in state prison. He also will pay fines associated with both cases.

    The robbery charge stems from an incident on Dec. 9, 2018, when Dubois and three others planned to rob a 13-year-old.

    The attempted robbery turned fatal, and two of Dubois' friends, Evitan De Biaso, 19, and Deonte Mitchner, 21, were killed.

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    The burglary charges come from a string of incidents where Dubois and several others broke into four different stores in Tacoma and Puyallup.

    In the December case, Dubois originally was charged with first-degree attempted robbery and first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery. He accepted a plea bargain offered by the prosecution and was charged with a lesser crime.

    According to charging papers, Dubois, De Biaso, Mitchner and a 16-year-old planned to pretend to sell a 13-year-old a gun for $275 and then steal the money intended for the purchase.

    On the day of the robbery, Dubois drove the group to the proposed meeting place. He stayed in the car with Mitchner's 1-year-old and 5-year-old children, The News Tribune reported.

    The 13-year-old arrived with a friend. They walked towards where Mitchner and De Biaso were hiding in the bushes. Mitchner and De Biaso jumped out and started punching the 13-year-old's friend. The 13-year-old ran and the 16-year-old followed.

    The 16-year-old heard gunshots. Mitchner and De Biaso were not armed, so he believed it was the 13-year-old's friend who was shooting.

    Police arrived at the 1300 block of East 35th Street and found De Biaso and Mitchner dead.

    According to a statement submitted by deputy prosecutor Kawyne Lund, an investigation showed that Dubois never left the car and could not see the shooting take place.

    Afterwards, Dubois drove away and looked for De Biaso and Mitchner. He then returned the children and the car to their home.

    According to the statement, Dubois did not participate much in planning the robbery, though he knew it would happen and was there to help.

    Duncan Ives Lewis, one of Dubois' defense attorneys, said that the robbery was a "traumatic event" for Dubois.

    "(He) lost two of his friends," Lewis said. "The trauma of this and going through this process has had a big impact."

    Van Doorninck said she hopes Dubois uses his time in custody to "sort through the trauma."

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