Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that former Seton Hall University student and basketball player Robert Mitchell plead guilty today to 3rd degree criminal restraint, 2nd degree conspiracy to commit burglary and 2nd degree burglary.
Appearing before the Honorable Alfonse Cifelli, J.S.C., Mitchell, 24, of Brooklyn admitted entering a private, off-campus Irvington Avenue home in South Orange on March 15, 2010 initially to purchase marijuana. Once inside, Mitchell said he and his co-defendant, Kelly Whitney, 27, of Chicago decided to instead rob the residents of the marijuana.
Assistant Prosecutor Linda Childs said under the terms of the plea agreement she will recommend that Mitchell receive three years in state prison. He must serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
“This is a tragic incident that hurt a number of people in the community. Hopefully, this plea will bring a measure of justice to the people who were harmed,’’ said Childs. “Parents should be able to send their children to college and not have to worry that they will be victimized.’’
Mitchell remains incarcerated but his bail has been reduced to $50,000.
Kelly Whitney, who was indicted for holding other students at gunpoint and robbing them, is expected to go to trial. A trial date has not been set but the next status conference is scheduled for Nov. 5, also before Judge Cifelli.
Whitney remains incarcerated.