New Castle News

June 13, 2013

Man sentenced in robbery of legislator

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — State Rep. Jaret Gibbons praised law enforcement officers for prosecution of a man who had robbed the legislator last year.

A Dauphin County judge sentenced Donnie Dozier, 42, to 12 to 30 years in prison under a plea deal Tuesday for robbing Gibbons and two staff members the night of March 12, 2012, in downtown Harrisburg.

Dozier pleaded guilty to three felony charges of robbery and one count each of robbery of a motor vehicle and conspiracy.

Dozier’s co-defendant, Michael Chavis, 24, is awaiting trial.

The two men, both Harrisburg residents, held up Gibbons, his chief of staff Kevin Bowser and intern Charles Goodall at gunpoint outside the legislator’s apartment as they unloaded a car.

The men took wallets, cell phones, keys and Goodall’s car, but Gibbons had another cell phone. He used it to call 911 and the police caught the two men driving Goodall’s car about 20 minutes later.

Gibbons thanked Dauphin County Senior Deputy District Attorney Johnny Baer and Harrisburg law enforcement.

“I truly appreciate the efforts of the district attorney’s office throughout the trial and the law enforcement officers who responded promptly and efficiently to our emergency,” Gibbons said. “Being held up at gunpoint is something I wish nobody ever had to experience, but the Harrisburg police force did an exemplary job of aiding us and ensuring the perpetrators were caught and couldn’t repeat this crime again.

“I’m also glad to see the enhanced sentence this criminal received for being a repeat offender,” Gibbons said. “He had prior robbery convictions and this verdict will ensure that he’s kept away from society for a lengthy period of time and cannot put the lives of other citizens at risk.”

Gibbons, of Franklin Township, Beaver County, said Wednesday he had met last week with Baer who had informed him of the plea deal.

“We all agreed it was worthwhile to do the plea deal and ensure this guy was going to be in jail for a very long time.”

Gibbons said he had communicated with Bowser and Goodall about the plea deal.

According to Gibbons, Baer said judges typically “will ask if the victims are in agreement.”

“I’m glad it’s over with,” he said, adding it was “probably one of the most harrowing experiences in my life.”

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)