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Teen Sentenced in Mr. Yang Robbery, Beating

The judge imposed a much harsher sentence than the defense argued for.

Sean Christopher Mitten of Phoenixville will be spending the next 21-56 months in state prison for his role in the robbery and beating of Yong Yang outside Yang's market in Berwyn.

Mitten, 18, was convicted and sentenced as an adult in Chester County Common Plea Court Tuesday afternoon in West Chester.  The sentence was imposed by Judge Phyllis Streitel in a hearing that lasted nearly an hour in courtroom 14 on the sixth floor of the County Courthouse.

Mitten was 17 when he and Ocatvio Sandoval plotted, scoped out and finally jumped, beat and robbed Yang as he got into his delivery van after closing the produce market he owned and operated for 14 years in Berwyn.  Sandoval, who was 18, faces sentencing for his role in the crime on October 9.

Mitten was sentenced to:

  • 28-56 months in state prison (14-28 on each count, to be served consecutively)
  • 9 years probation (5 years for robbery plus 4 years for conspiracy to be served consecutively)
  • Provide a DNA sample (to have on record in case he were to commit future crimes)
  • 200 hours of community service (100 hours for each count)
  • Study and earn a GED while in prison
  • Have no contact with Mr. Yang (except via a letter Mitten has requested and will be permitted to send Mr. Yang a letter of thanks and apology that will be sent through an attorney or prison counselor or probation officer)
  • Pay restitution (split with Octavio Sandoval) of $30,185.68 to Blue Cross and Blue Shield for Mr. Yang's medical expenses and $4,460.05 directly to Mr. Yang. 
  • Undergo psychiatric and mental health evaluation to detemine the best programs to help Mitten get his life turned around.

The judge denied a request to consider sending Mitten to a boot camp-style prison saying she did not think it would be an effective program for Mitten. She did however recommend that Mitten be sent to Pine Grove prison in Indiana Prison which house young inmates under 21.

Editor's note: When Sean Christopher Mitten was arrested he was 17 but was charged as an adult. Until his conviction and sentencing as an adult today Patch had opted not to name him in our reporting because there was a chance that he could eventually be adjudicated in juvenile court. Due to the verdict and sentencing as an adult and because he is now 18 Patch is including Mitten's name in our coverage.

Marc September 25, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I would agree with Ben that a harsher penalty be imposed. It is good to see that both will be responsible for making restitution.
Bob Byrne September 25, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I think everyone involved in this case really wrestled with the sentence.He is going to be in state prison for AT LEAST 28 months and at most 56. The prosecutor wanted a harsher sentence, the defense a much lighter sentence. The judge was clear about trying to serve three goals with her sentence: 1) Protecting the community from a dangerous person 2) Considering the impact of the crime on the victim 3) Consider the possibilities for rehabilitating the offender. Those are the same criteria for most criminal cases. As I sat in the courtroom today I thought to myself 'I don't envy the position the judge is in'. She emphasized that Mr. Yang's concern for the teens who attacked him was more gracious than many people would have been and that she agreed with Mr. Yang's primary concern which was that these teenagers now turned-felons get an education and try to turn their lives around. At the same time she wanted to be sure the punishment fit the crime which she pointed out was brutal, life-altering and pre-meditated. The judge told Mitten in court that he should look at this as an opportunity to pay his debt to society and come out on the other side (which includes 9 years of probation) having accomplished that. I think, given the arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys about Sandoval being the 'mastermind' there is likely to be a harsher sentence imposed when Ocatavio Sandoval, who delivered the crushing blow to Mr. Yang's eye faces the same judge for sentencing.
Working Mom September 26, 2012 at 01:15 AM
This sentence is too light. He and Sandoval ruined a mans business, destroyed his life, impacted his family and the neighbors. Even if he stays 56 months - which he probally will not. Its like going away to high school. His share of $ 20,000 is not even close to repayment for anything. And what about future medical issues that crop up from this. who will pay them? who will make up the income for this gentleman? And why are we paying for this child to get his GED, when he obviously was old enough to be attending school the first time around. ( so again our tax dollars being wasted) and what if he commits a crime or is punished while in the prison? and he does not get out? who is going to take care of these bills. I understand the difficulty in making this decision, and it may seem like an opportunity to rehabilite him.. But I can say I don't want his 200 hours of community service around me. Maybe he should have been sentenced to 1000 hours of community service for each crime in helping Mr. Yang rebuild his business, get around, and take care of him ( under supervision at his families cost) . This was way too lenient and its shameful.
Pat Campbell September 26, 2012 at 03:04 AM
I don't believe it is too lenient. I actually think it might be too overwhelming...he is 18 years old. He can and should be punished severely, but 56 months represents almost 1/3 of the life he has lived. It will be a long haul. The restitution might make turning his life around almost impossible...at 23 he will be a convicted felon, GED or not, with 200 hours of community service ahead of him and more in fines than a high school diploma would likely earn under the best of circumstances. It costs far more to keep this young man in prison than the tax dollars you fear are being wasted on his education. If they give him 10 years -- he gets out at 28 with a GED and debts and a felony conviction. He has ruined his life. Why not at least give him a shot at turning it around? I applaud the judge for all the conditions she has levied....I just wonder if the society that wants him in jail will ever really let him be free.
Rezzy Dent December 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Pat, people like you make me sick, you make it sound like this punk is now the victim. Mr Yang lost sight in one eye that may spread to the other, lost his business and can't drive. One can only hope that you will be a victim of a crime like this and see what tune you sing then.

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