A Plea for Justice: Victim of Armed Robbery Speaks - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

A Plea for Justice: Victim of Armed Robbery Speaks

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Cynthia Dorrough still has flashbacks of the night she was attacked and robbed at knife point.

"I don't think it is fair. My whole life has been changed from this," said Dorrough. "For the longest time I was actually choking myself in my sleep. I don't go anywhere at night.

According to a La Crosse County criminal complaint, on February 6th, 2012, two men attacked Cynthia in her car and demanded money.

"As he was choking me, her finance came to the driver's window and shattered it and held a knife to my face. That is the last thing I remember. They choked me unconscious. I had cuts all over my face and everywhere," said Dorrough.

A judge convicted Jacob Foley and Kyle Wedekind of robbery with the use of force.

Both spent time behind bars at the La Crosse County Jail.

Jennifer Rondeau-Wilbur was also charged as party to the crime.

A witness told police that Rondeau-Wilber helped the men plan the robbery and told them where to find Cynthia.

"Not once while they were attacking me did she decide to tell me the truth and tell me what was going on. She was supposed to be my friend or to try and stop it. She sat there and watched," said Dorrough.

The La Crosse County District Attorney's office initially charged Rondeau-Wilbur with a Class E felony which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but she instead agreed to a reduced charge of two misdemeanors and a recommended sentence of two years probation in a plea agreement.

By law, the plea agreement must take into consideration the victims wishes and opinions.

La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke could not talk about the specifics of this case, but he said the victims statement always carries value.

"Victims have a lot of say and are by and large listened to. Many victims surprisingly don't want to have a say in it, but the ones that do will talk with us and have a right to talk at sentencing," said Gruenke.

The judge also takes that statement into consideration.

"I think one thing important to note is there is no one size fits all for victims. Victims have a wide range of opinions when it comes to the agreement. Some don't want charges filed, others want a plea to anything, and others want the maximum and maximum penalty," said La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Dale Pasell.

Judge Pasell says jail time isn't the only form of justice.

"Judges have a hard job in justice and making sure people don't come back. We know that prison alone might not do much is solving the underlying problem. Sometimes it might be better for a treatment program paired with some structured supervision to help them. Sometimes lock them up, no treatment, in with worse offenders and let them out in worse shape than they were in," said Gruenke.

In the Rondeau-Wilbur case, the judge did not fully agree with the plea agreement and sentenced her to 30 days in jail and two years probation.

"I don't think there is ever a harder case to rule on when the victim doesn't feel justice has been done. There is no question in my mind that I can convince you that justice is being done. Except to say that justice isn't always perfect and it is a balance. It is a balance of what the state can prove, it is a balance of what is in the best interest in the public as a whole and it is about paying with punishment for an act that has been committed. I am willing to go with the agreement that the state has up to a point and the point is that Miss Rondeau-Wilbur, you have got to do some time in custody," said La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Ramona Gonzalez.

While Cynthia is not completely satisfied with the sentence, she said having a say in the plea process brought her closure.

"I am kind of happy with what they did. At least the judge paid attention and she cared. It did help. I could tell with the judge that she cared what was going. She said she was sorry and told me that something had to be done, so that I felt that there was some kind of justice and with what the judge did. I do feel there was some justice," said Dorrough.

If you would like to read the initial charges for this case, you can log onto wicourts.gov

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