Daniel Evans, the 23-year-old man charged with an accomplice in a violent home invasion robbery on Bradmore Lane in Palm Coast 17 months ago, was sentenced today to six years in state prison and 10 years’ probation in a plea deal that dropped the home invasion charge but convicted him on a burglary with assault charge. His victim was Pamela Berdebes, then 67. She was struck in the head and fell to the floor when Evans forced her door open.
Evans’s accomplice and girlfriend, Carisa Hall, 21 at the time of the confrontation, is to be sentenced on Feb. 19. She has also agreed to a plea agreement, pleading no contest to being a principal to burglary with battery. She faces between five and 10 years in state prison and up to a lifetime on probation. Absent the deal, prosecutors told her she’d faced life in prison if the case had gone to trial and she was found guilty.
But her family is contesting the harshness of the deal.
Evans will be required to pay $475 in restitution to Berdebes in addition to $1,120 in fines, court and investigation costs.
The crime took place on Aug. 3, 2014. Hall had once been a roommate of Berdebes’s. She had dated a man called Marquis. Late the evening of Aug. 3, Evans, posing as Marquis, knocked on Berdebes’s door and announced himself as “Marquis.” When Berdebes opened the door to check, he shoved it open, slamming the woman to the ground. He then threatened Berdebes with death if she looked at him.
Evans was on a cell phone, listening to directions from someone who knew where to direct him in the house. It was Hall. Evans even let on to Berdebes that he was on the phone with a woman, telling his victim of his interlocutor, “she said you have pills.” Evans took a purse, some money and pills, then fled. Berbedes’s credit cards were then used repeatedly in quick succession in Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach and South Daytona, where Evans lived.
The third use of a card, in South Daytona, gave Evans and Hall away: they were both visible in surveillance video. They were not able to get money off the card even though Hall knew the pin number. They then went to the place they were sharing, about 0.2 miles from the Kangaroo where they’d last tried getting money off of Berdebes’s cards. That’s where they were arrested by South Daytona police.
Hall’s family has since attempted to contest the terms of the deal, which had been offered to her in exchange of testifying against Evans. Wendy Smith, Hall’s mother, wrote Circuit Judge J. David Walsh last August that Hall had not been in the house at the time of the robbery “other than being the person who got the ball rolling,” and having “bad judgment.”
Smith then describes Hall as a young mother who had just given birth . “This little boy needs his mother and I am not saying she should go unpunished as she knows right from wrong,” Smith pleaded with Walsh, “I am begging the state of Florida to please give her the minimum of 3 years with 1 year probation. With a stipulation to go in and speak with troubled girls” and volunteer in a girls’ shelter every six months, for five years. She described her daughter as a community volunteer in various institutions who plans on being a drug counselor or a beautician.
Evans’s grandmother and sister in law also sent in similarly pleading letters—the sort of pleas made at sentencing that seldom sway a judge very far from sentencing guidelines. In late August last year, Hall herself wrote Walsh. “This got way out of hand and I do take responsibility,” she wrote. Giving birth, she said, and loving her son as she never thought possible, made her “understand how I have hurt my mother and family” (she did not mention the victim).
She added: “I am pleading today pleading for the court[‘s] mercy for a shorter sentence. I ask this not only for myself but for my son. I live with my mother and sick grandmother who moved into my mom’s over a year ago. We three depend on each other, I help my mom while she is at work and I am home and vice versa. They are not capable to care for my son at all. We are three generations of women who really depend on one another, by me leaving I have financially devastated them as well. Judge Walsh please have mercy on me.”
Originally scheduled for today, Hall’s sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 19.