(Jan. 22, 2021) James Watson, 17, of Alexandria, Virginia was sentenced last week to a handful of years in prison for multiple counts of second-degree assault tied to a shotgun robbery involving three other suspects on the Boardwalk in August.
Watson pleaded guilty on Jan. 13 to three counts of second-degree assault and was sentenced to 12 years, with all but five suspended. Prosecutors dropped felony charges for armed robbery and three counts of first-degree assault.
Also implicated in the armed assault were Alexis Cabrera, 17, and Joshua Benitez, 17, both of Lorton, Virginia and Micah Younger, 18, of Manassas, Virginia.
On Aug. 26 just after 2 a.m. police responded to an assault involving a weapon on the Boardwalk by 12th Street.
Police said a woman and her 10-year-old niece were approached by Watson who pointed a shotgun at the pair and demanded the child’s cell phone.
Responding in fight or flight mode, the woman quickly snatched the phone from the child and had her flee the scene.
The victim said she tried to call the police, as Watson gave the weapon to Cabrera, but that, another suspect, later identified as Benitez, assaulted her and grabbed the phone.
Benitez also tried to steal the woman’s wallet, but she managed to run and foil the attempt.
Once the incident was reported, Watson was spotted by bicycle police near Baltimore Avenue and was detained.
Witnesses told investigators that Cabrera, Benitez and Younger had jumped into a vehicle and left the area in possession of the shotgun. The trio made it as far as West Ocean City before Maryland State Troopers stopped the silver Honda and found all three suspects with the shotgun visible inside the vehicle.
Watson, Cabrera, Benitez and Younger were each charged with armed robbery and multiple counts of first- and second-degree assault.
On Jan. 7, charges against Cabrera were placed on the stet docket and became inactive but were not dropped.
In November, felony charges against Younger were dismissed, with a trial for the second-degree assault charges scheduled on Feb. 17.
Benitez faces a juvenile waiver hearing on Feb. 1.