Armed home invader gets 26 to 52 years

The man who broke into an elderly couple’s home and robbed them at gunpoint hung his head in defeat when he heard his sentence: 26 to 52 years behind state prison bars.

Hyson E. Fredericks, 36, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary, theft and criminal trespassing last October. He was sentenced before Judge Marc F. Lovecchio Tuesday.

This is Fredericks’ fifth burglary conviction since 1998. In one case, he pulled the cord out of the wall so the person couldn’t call police.

In this case, Fredericks and two accomplices broke into Bruce and Brenda Ginther’s Ross Street home and held them at gunpoint while they stole cash, jewelery, bank cards and even dog cremains.

Police recovered Brenda Ginther’s heirloom jewelery and a sawed-off shotgun that fit the Ginthers’ description while serving a search warrant on Fredericks’ residence.

“Enough is enough. The public needs some peace,” Judge Marc F. Lovecchio told Fredericks.

Genuine or contrived, tears streamed down Fredericks’ tattooed face while he begged Lovecchio to go easy on him.

“I’m a family man,” Fredericks said.

Fredericks has seven children to six different mothers – women to whom he intended to give Ginther’s jewelery as Christmas presents, he testified at trial.

Fredericks always has maintained his innocence.

“I sold drugs but I didn’t rob anybody,” he said.

Fredericks claims he accepted the jewelery as payment for the heroin he was dealing. He claims he never knew or asked where the jewelery came from.

“I’m sorry for selling drugs. If I hadn’t sold drugs, I wouldn’t have bought Mrs. Ginther’s jewelery,” Fredericks told Lovecchio.

Fredericks and his attorney Julien Allatt asked Lovecchio for a lenient sentence.

“If your honor sees fit to run all these charges consecutively, my client won’t see the outside of prison walls until he’s an old man,” Allatt said, adding that Fredericks should have the chance to reform and re-enter society.

On the other hand, the victims and Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Osokow asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence possible.

“I can only imagine what was going through Bruce Ginther’s mind as he was led around the house while his wife was in bed held at gunpoint,” Osokow said.

Bruce and Brenda Ginther said the robbery has forever changed them. They had to sell their family business and leave the city due to related difficulties.

“I fear it will be a long time before he can face the truth and become humble. To him, we’re nothing but a trophy,” Brenda Ginther said.

After considering the arguments in his chambers, a somber Lovecchio returned to the bench.

“Sometimes I really wonder whether the society we live in has become a jungle,” Lovecchio said.

He compared Fredericks to one of the most ferocious jungle animals: a forest elephant.

“The forest elephant has some good qualities- it’s a family animal that would do anything to protect its clan – but at the same time, there are no rules when it comes to animals outside its clan. You’re proud of your choices because they protect and support the ones you love but it’s a huge risk to everyone else,” Lovecchio said.

Lovecchio is “a believer in rehabilitation,” but in this case he had no choice but to impose a severe sentence because Fredericks has showed “zero remorse” and “zero accountability.”

“You’re intelligent, articulate, patient, supportive of loved ones and flexible. In spite of all these attributes, they are being used for destructive purposes,” Lovecchio said.

Fredericks plans to appeal his conviction and seek a re-trial.