Armed robbery case against Woodland Hills quarterback moved to juvenile court
December 13, 2013 12:22 PM
Harry Randall, seen here in August.
By Paula Reed Ward / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
An armed robbery case against the Woodland Hills High School starting quarterback will be heard in juvenile court.
Harry Randall, 18, appeared before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani this morning for a decertification hearing on his charges.
Mr. Randall's defense attorney asked that the case be moved to juvenile court, where the system's focus is on rehabilitation, and supervision must conclude by the age of 21.
At the time of the crime, Mr. Randall was 17 years and 10 months old.
According to Swissvale police, Mr. Randall and another man, E. W. Richardson, ordered two pizzas to be delivered to Collingwood Avenue about 8 p.m. March 6. The call was placed from a cell phone belonging to Mr. Randall's mother.
When the delivery driver arrived, he was robbed at gunpoint. One of the assailants had a shotgun, the other what appeared to be a silver handgun -- although it later was determined to be a pellet gun.
The driver was robbed of $180, his wallet, the pizza delivery bag and a sausage and a pepperoni pizza.
The two assailants also attempted to steal the man's car, but could not when they realized the keys were missing. Instead they left on foot.
Later that night, police were able to trace the pizza order back to the phone used by Mr. Randall, according to the criminal complaint, and they recovered the driver's wallet, pizza bag and pepperoni pizza in Mr. Randall's bedroom. The shotgun believed to have been used in the incident was found under a couch in the home.
During the hearing this morning, defense attorney Kaitlin Euler presented evidence that Mr. Randall has had a difficult childhood and has been diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder.
Testifying on Mr. Randall's behalf was also George Novak, the head coach of the Woodland Hills football team.
"Harry's had a rough time growing up," the coach said. "He's had no parents."
He said Mr. Randall lives like it's "survival of the fittest. We're trying to change that feeling and get him to trust people," Mr. Novak said.
He said Mr. Randall only got in trouble outside of football season -- when he was not under a rigorous schedule and was hanging around with the wrong kind of kids.
He said Mr. Randall has a 2.5 GPA and has been offered full scholarships by West Virginia, Temple and Georgia Tech universities.
"Most of the teachers would say he's a good student," Mr. Novak said. "He doesn't act up."
The prosecution, however, presented evidence that Mr. Randall has been adjudicated in juvenile court twice before, and at the time of the armed robbery was under a consent decree for having stolen a Jeep from Planet Fitness after removing a man's keys from his locker at the gym.
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Byrnes said that Mr. Randall has failed to take advantage of the opportunities given him through the juvenile court system, and instead his criminal activities are escalating.
"I don't believe he's shown this court he's willing and wanting to be rehabilitated," she said. "He has shown he doesn't follow the rules."
In making his ruling, Judge Mariani said he weighed the two sides' arguments, and that "the scales tip ever so slightly" in Mr. Randall's favor, particularly because of his "starting point in life."
"I don't really care if you get to the NFL," the judge said. "The education side of this is so much more significant to me than the football side. This is the last chance you're ever going to have to keep yourself from going to prison for 5 to 10."
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