Suspect sought in attempted armed robbery of Baton Rouge motel in July _lowres

Jonathan Robertson

A Baton Rouge man is arguing his 75-year prison sentence for an armed robbery and attempted armed robbery is excessive, even as he awaits another trial on charges he killed two women in 2015.  

Jonathan Robertson, 29, is asking state District Judge Beau Higginbotham to reconsider the consecutive 50- and 25-year prison terms he imposed after an East Baton Rouge Parish jury convicted him in September.

Robertson was found guilty of robbing a store clerk at gunpoint on July 1, 2015, and two hours later attempting to rob a hotel security guard, who disarmed Robertson of his pistol.

Prosecutors say Robertson wore an Atlanta Falcons cap with a sticker on the bill during the robbery of the Cracker Barrel store on Jefferson Highway near Barringer Foreman Road, and the attempted robbery in the parking lot of the Comfort Inn on Valley Creek Drive off College Drive. But his attorney argues they didn't conclusively prove it was him under the hat.

"In the count of armed robbery, the victim did not at the time of the offense or during trial identify Mr. Robertson as the person on the grainy surveillance video wearing a red baseball cap," Margaret Lagattuta, who represents Robertson, states in the motion to reconsider sentence filed Friday.

She said prosecutors' case rested on circumstantial evidence, making a fifty-year sentence accessive. She also argues it was excessive to run the 50- and 25-year terms consecutively instead of concurrently. 

Higginbotham noted at Robertson's sentencing that he had two prior convictions, for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and simple robbery, and said "it is clear from your record that you believe other people's property is there for you to take."

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Tuesday that Robertson's sentence should stand.

"Based on the facts presented at trial and considering the history of this defendant, the court's sentence is appropriate," he said.

The pistol used in the July 1, 2015, attempted robbery of the Comfort Inn guard was traced back to the June 19, 2015, killing of Brandi Gilbert, of Plano, Texas, and Corrine Rayford, of Grapevine Texas. The 23-year-old women were shot in the head and found in a parked car on Boone Avenue in Baton Rouge.

Robertson has yet to stand trial on those shootings. His next court date in that case is Feb. 21.

Moore said Tuesday that a final decision has not been made on the pending second-degree murder charges against Robertson. A second-degree murder conviction would carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Robertson is appealing his convictions .

Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.