LIMA — A Lima woman who admitted driving her daughter to an area motel to purchase drugs but said she was an unwitting participant in an armed robbery was sentenced Thursday to probation and community service.
Latasha Tate, 40, was indicted by a grand jury in December 2018 on first-degree felony counts of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, both with firearm specifications, and a fifth-degree felony count of theft. She accepted an offer from prosecutors in June and agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of burglary in exchange for the state’s dismissal of charges of aggravated robbery and theft along with all attached firearm specifications.
According to court documents, Tate was the driver of a vehicle that was stopped after leaving the Rodeway Inn on Neubrecht Road on Oct. 21 of last year. Three passengers in the car — Shanita Harvey, Laquanvian Harris and Aquarius Owens — were subsequently charged with robbing Shaquille Armstead at gunpoint after assaulting him in the motel room. The men made off with a safe and were seen entering a white vehicle.
That vehicle was stopped by police, and Tate was driving. Police found a loaded handgun under the seat of the vehicle. The safe that was taken from the motel room was also located, according to court documents.
During her sentencing hearing on Thursday, Harris told Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed that she had no idea her passengers had been involved in a crime.
“I didn’t know what was going on until the sheriff pulled me over that night,” Tate said.
Reed was skeptical, telling Tate, “I find that hard to believe.”
He sentenced the woman to three years on probation and ordered her to perform 40 hours of community service.
Harvey will be sentenced Aug. 29 for her role in the robbery. Owens was sentenced last month to six years in prison on a charge of aggravated robbery with a three-year firearm specification. Harris is currently serving a six-year prison term for his role in the armed robbery.