Man who robbed elderly couple at gunpoint sentenced to 18-40 years

January 23, 2023

Labeau

Man who robbed elderly couple at gunpoint sentenced to 18-40 years

‘It’s a horrific set of circumstances, Mr. Labeau, that you put these people through,’ said Judge Susan K. Sniegowski.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A 52-year-old Mears man convicted of armed robbery was sentenced to 18-40 years in prison in Oceana County’s 51st Circuit Court Monday, Jan. 23. 

Harold Raymond Labeau, of 5845 W. 6th St., robbed and assaulted an elderly couple in Golden Township and then fled in their vehicle last September.

Labeau pleaded “no contest,” Nov. 7, to the charge that carries a maximum life term.

Labeau, who has been lodged in the Oceana County Jail on a $1 million bond since his arrest, appeared in court with his attorney Julie Springstead-Waltz.

Labeau is also accused of getting into a gunfight with a Mason County sheriff’s deputy near Bass Lake, resulting in Labeau being shot in the hip by the officer and ultimately captured after being on the run for two days following the robbery. Although it’s still under investigation, it’s likely no charges will be filed in that matter due to the lengthy prison term ordered in the armed robbery case. In Oceana County, a resisting and opposing police charge stemming from that incident — which carries a two-year maximum term — was dismissed, because it would have been served concurrently. 

“By all appearances, it was a lawful shooting by the police officer, which allowed him to be taken into custody,” said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon, “and he is now going to prison for 18-40 years.”

The victims are Carol and Avery Wilson, ages 81 and 84, said Bizon. Mrs. Wilson was in the courtroom Monday but did not address the court. “We’re glad he’s off the streets and we’re hopeful the victim will find some level of comfort and the ability to put this behind her,” said Bizon after the hearing.

“The court should be aware they are still traumatized, and they’re still suffering the effects of what was done to them,” said Bizon to Judge Susan K. Sniegowski. 

“In looking at the facts and circumstances of this case, it’s horrendous, and it is clearly traumatizing to the victim,” said Judge Sniegowski. “Very specifically, it also increases the fear in the community that something like this happens — a breaking and entering in a house, a home invasion, which then becomes an armed robbery with an assault. It’s a horrific set of circumstances, Mr. Labeau, that you put these people through. I can’t imagine the fear that evening; the physical pain from the assault; and the fear that continues from the trauma of going through this experience. When I first looked at this, the concern was that 18 years wasn’t nearly enough for a minimum. When I take into consideration your age and 18 years is when you would first be eligible for parole — taking that all into consideration, the offer and agreement make sense to me.”

Labeau made no comments during the hearing.

In exchange for his plea to armed robbery, charges of first-degree home invasion, larceny of a firearm, and three counts of felony firearm were dismissed. He was prosecuted as a four-time habitual offender.

According to the Offender Information Tracking System, Labeau has a long criminal history. He was released from prison last February after serving a term for an Oceana County conviction of using a computer to commit a crime. He was sentenced to one and a half to seven years in 2018. According to OTIS, he was convicted in Oceana County of breaking and entering a building with intent four times beginning in 2008. He was sentenced in three of those cases to three to 20 years in prison and three to 10 years in one case.

“The victim informed police that she awakened to the sound of glass breaking on the slider door,” previously said the judge. “She attempted to shoot the suspect with a pistol, but missed,” and then Labeau took the gun from her. “She was hit in the head, but doesn’t know what with. There was another individual there with her. The defendant went through each room, digging for items, and the victim locked herself in the bedroom. A vehicle was stolen by the defendant at that location as well as the firearm and other items.”

Security cameras at the residence helped police identify Labeau, said the judge.

Restitution in the case was not sought. Mrs. Wilson agreed that in light of the lengthy prison sentence and Labeau’s age, it would be a long shot if she ever received restitution, explained Bizon.

Sentencing guidelines in the case are 270-450 months. Labeau received credit for 136 days served in jail.

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