D.C. man sentenced for robbing his elderly grandparents

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A D.C. man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for robbing his elderly grandparents at gunpoint, prosecutors said Thursday.

Riley Mercer, 40, was sentenced in D.C. Superior Court Wednesday after he was found guilty in June 2012 of conspiracy, burglary while armed, kidnapping while armed, armed robbery of a senior citizen and related weapons offenses. He also faces five years of supervised release when he completes his prison term.

The robbery occurred after Mercer went to live with his grandparents, who are in their 70s, at their home in Northeast in 2010, prosecutors said in a press release.

The grandparents gave Mercer a key to their home and a job with their security company, and at some point Mercer learned that the couple kept payroll cash in a safe in their bedroom closet and that his grandmother was the only person with the combination.

During the early morning hours of Sept. 29, 2011, Mercer and two other men went into the home armed with guns and wearing masks. They went to the grandparents’ bedroom and held the couple at gunpoint. One of the men went to Mercer’s grandmother and led her to the closet where the safe was kept.

When the man threatened to shoot the grandmother because she was not moving quickly enough, the grandmother heard a man say, “Don’t hurt her” and recognized her grandson’s voice.

Mercer and the other men stole about $15,000 from the safe and left the couple tied and bound on their bed. The couple’s daughter eventually heard them crying for help and untied them.

At the defendant’s sentencing, Superior Court Judge Patricia A. Broderick noted the horrific nature of the crime and how frightening the ordeal had been for the victims, prosecutors said.

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