MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A suspect who brutally attacked an elderly Montgomery woman in her home for a few dollars, has learned his fate and is behind bars.
Prosecutors wanted to see Tyrell Moore, 19, go away for good after traumatizing two women in two different crimes. But they acknowledge he did receive a hefty sentence- one they hope sends a message to anyone looking to target the elderly.
Martha Johnson has found strength in family, friends and those who've worked to make sure her attacker pays for what he did to her in her own home.
"He beat me crazy and I thank the Lord to live to see this day," she said.
The 91-year-old spent days in the hospital after Moore, a total stranger, stormed into her West Montgomery home last year on May 10th, Mother's Day.
At first, Moore appeared in the locked screen door and Johnson asked him if he needed anything or if she could help with anything and he said no. Several minutes later, he forced the door open and demanded she give him money. She refused and he started choking her with his hands. Then, he removed his belt and put it around her neck and demanded money again. She refused and repeatedly punched her in the face with a closed fist.
He ransacked the house and grabbed a gift.
"What he took was her Mother's Day present that her son had given her, a card with some money in it. Not only that, but he beat it up to take it from her over $20 dollars," said Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey. "It caused a lot of lasting injuries to her. Obviously, she's in fear of her life probably still today and has trouble coping with this incident and why it happened."
Johnson ran out of the house yelling for help and he ran away and broke into another nearby house. Neighbors pointed police in the right direction and he was arrested.
"He thinks it's good to go around and beat up old people. That's not nice at all," Johnson said.
Moore pleaded guilty in May to robbery and burglary in the home invasion and robbery in connection with a bus stop attack, which happened on April 30, 2015 on Rosa Parks Avenue in Montgomery.
The victim was waiting at the bus stop when Moore approached her and asked her what time the bus got there. Then he grabbed her purse but it was on her arm. A struggle ensued and Moore ended up dragging the victim on the ground before the strap on her purse broke and he ran off with it.
When Moore was arrested in the home invasion, authorities found that he matched the description from the bus stop robbery, which he confessed to.
On Monday, Judge Truman Hobbs sentenced Moore to 48 years for the robbery and burglary at Martha Johnson's house and 10 years for the bus stop incident, which will run concurrent to the home invasion sentence.
The district attorney indicated that Moore has an extensive juvenile criminal record, which included violence. His office was pushed for Moore to be sentenced to life in prison to keep him from harming another senior citizen. At the same time, Bailey says he's glad Moore got a significant amount of time.
Moore reportedly gave a "flippant" apology in court and blamed it on unfortunate circumstances in his life, but Bailey says there's no justification or excuse for his crimes. He went over to Johnson's home that day after learning about what happened, outraged at the abuse of an elderly community member. He formed an Elder Abuse Task Force to combat crimes against senior citizens after taking office.
"Those are the individuals that need to be punished severely because if they would do something like this to a senior citizen, they would do it to anybody. It speaks volumes about the violent nature of this person when he's committed a crime like this," he said. "It does bring some closure and I hope that they will rest well knowing that this man has been put behind bars. It also sends a message out to t if you commit a crime like this, you're going to be prosecuted and the sentence is going to be heavy. This is a man who will spend a majority, if not all, of his life in prison for a stupid crime."
John Robinson, the victim's son, said he was shocked when he got the call that his mother had been attacked. He talked to her before he went into church that morning and planned to head over to her house after the service.
"She's my momma and I love her with all of my heart and I really appreciate what the officers who came out there did and the DA's Office and what they have done," he said. "I was happy about the sentencing because that's something a young man doesn't have to do to an elderly person."
"I'm glad he's off the streets where he won't hurt anyone else," Martha Johnson added. "He needs to learn what he's done."
The district attorney says his office will work with the parole board to make sure that Moore serves his 48 year sentence.
Our calls to Moore's court-appointed attorney were not returned Monday.
Daryl Bailey pointed out inconsistencies in recent robbery sentencings in Montgomery County.
Last week, Judge Eugene Reese sentenced Jekovan Ligon to life in prison after he was convicted by a jury in May of robbery 1st degree. He robbed someone leaving a barbershop on Virginia Loop Road in 2015. Ligon had two prior felony drug convictions.
Also last week, Judge William Shashy gave Cedric Pugh 13 years for holding up a clerk at gunpoint at a Citgo on Atlanta Highway and robbing the business. He was tracked down and captured by the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force.
Pugh said the reason he robbed the store was because he wasn't making enough money at his job at a temp agency.
He was paroled after serving half of a 20 year robbery sentence out of Birmingham and had eight major disciplinary actions in the penitentiary, including bringing contraband into the prison, Bailey said.
With his two prior felonies (from the Birmingham robbery and prison contraband), under the statute, Bailey says Pugh was supposed to get life in prison but due to prison reform legislation, the judge had the discretion to sentence him to a minimum of 13 years, less time than he received for his first offense.
Bailey estimated that he will be out in less than two years because of parole and work release.
"He's already proven himself to be a danger to society and all this sentence does if give him another opportunity to wreak violence on the community."