Former Santa Rosa officer sentenced to 30 yrs in prison for robberies www.privateofficer.com
Judge Arthur Wick sentenced Robert Steven Starling, 35, of Windsor, to the maximum term of 30 years and four months in prison, according to Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.
“We are pleased with the sentence in this case and with the fact that the judge acknowledged the serious danger this individual posed to our community,” said Passalacqua.
He said Starling used his specialized training and knowledge, as well as a firearm, to commit the robberies, which Passalacqua said were “brazen.”
Starling was convicted by a Sonoma County jury on May 4 of committing four armored car robberies with a firearm during a period between Sept. 27, 2007, and May 18, 2009, Passalacqua’s office reported.
The jury also convicted him of two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and found that he was armed with a firearm during the course of the conspiracies, dissuading a witness through force and fear, wearing a mask and providing false reports to law enforcement, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.
The first two incidents occurred in Santa Rosa, the third in Novato and the fourth in Sebastopol. Starling also was convicted of conspiring to commit a fifth robbery in Rohnert Park, but abandoned that robbery due to a large police presence in the area, officials reported.
At trial, Starling reportedly did not contest the fact that he committed the robberies. His defense rested around the sole issue of whether or not he used an actual firearm or a look-alike “air-soft gun.”
In reaching its sentencing decision the court found defendant’s testimony at trial that he did not use a real firearm “incredulous,” according to the district attorney’s report.
Passalacqua said the court also took note of the serious risk to the community’s safety that defendant posed when he committed the robberies and characterized the armored car guards as heroes. The court found that the maximum term was warranted in this case.
Deputy District Attorney Marianna Green was the lead prosecutor. Santa Rosa Police Detective Mark Mahre and FBI Special Agent Noel Boswell were the primary investigators.