The Holland Sentinel reports that an appeals court has upheld the conviction of an armed robber in Michigan. Raymond Danial Levario Jr. was convicted of armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in an undercover drug operation that took place on February 4, 2016, according to the Sentinel.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office conducted the sting with a detective from the West Michigan Enforcement Team, Tyler Kempema. Kempema bought cocaine from a man named Evan DeJonge on two occasions while acting as an undercover agent. When he tried to buy a larger amount, Kempema met Dejonge and Mario Pinson in an Arby’s parking lot. They demanded money prior to the handoff, and Pinson called Levario, who was located inside the restaurant at the time of the deal. Levario told Kempema over the phone to pay the men in the car.
The two drug dealers asked Kempema to count the $1200 twice in the car, and Pinson pistol-whipped him in the face and threatened to shoot him. Kempema alerted other detectives he needed help and officers arrived on the scene to arrest DeJonge and Pinson. Levario walked away from the scene and left in a red van.
DeJonge’s girlfriend testified she heard Levario tell him to pistol whip the detective, but Levario told police he was mentoring DeJonge in order to be able to identify undercover agents. At the time of the crime, Levario was 43, DeJonge, 22 and Pinson, 18.
DeJonge also allegedly told Levario he would “trick a white college kid out of his money” because there were no drugs to sell.
Levario appealed his conviction because his attorneys did not ask the court to give the jury specific instructions for the testimony of his accomplices. The Michigan Court of Appeals determined his attorney did not make any errors that would have changed the outcome of the trial, according to the Sentinel.
Levario was sentenced to six years and nine months to 20 years in prison. DeJonge is serving 5.5-20 years and Pinson is serving 3-10 years.
*Photo credit Holland Sentinel