James F. Howarth (DOB 9/6/81), of Nevada Ave., Williamstown NJ was sentenced today to 12 years in New Jersey state prison for his admitted robbery at knifepoint of a Heritage’s convenience store on North Broad St., Woodbury NJ on May 30, 2011.
Howarth also was sentenced to three years in state prison for attempting to pass a forged check at a TD Bank in West Deptford on March 14, 2011. That sentence will be served concurrently with the 12-year term.
He pleaded guilty to both crimes last Dec. 11 following negotiations with Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Dana Anton.
In court today, Howarth made a final plea for a reduced sentence, admitting he’d spent much of his life in jail for crimes he blamed on drug addiction, but stressing tearfully that another long stretch behind bars “will institutionalize me.”
Superior Court Judge Walter L. Marshall Jr. noted that Howarth had opportunities for rehabilitation as a juvenile when he was incarcerated on two of nine delinquency cases, followed by 15 municipal court and seven indictable
convictions as an adult. Judge Marshall said he would recommend substance and mental health treatment of Howarth in prison but “you’re going to have to be the driving force for change,” he told the defendant.
“Over the years, this individual’s crimes have escalated from petty theft and narcotics offenses to armed robbery,” said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton. “Protection of the public warranted a substantial prison sentence.”
In addition to serving time, Howarth was ordered to make restitution of $30 that was not recovered from the $390 taken in the robbery. He was arrested in Deptford Township NJ a short time after the holdup.