ROGUE RIVER — Jackson County sheriff's deputies have arrested three Grants Pass residents suspected of holding a medical marijuana grower at gunpoint and making off with $700 early Saturday morning.
William Sandlin, 22 and Joseph Callas, 28, were arraigned Monday on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, and third-degree assault. Brooke Villa-Staton, 19, was arraigned on first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary charges.
All remain lodged in the Jackson County Jail. Sandlin and Callas have bail amounts set at $100,000, while Villa-Staton's bail has been set at $50,000.
Jackson County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a home invasion at 3:26 a.m. Saturday in the 3500 block of Evans Creek Road in Rogue River. Authorities said 52-year-old Richard Patterson, a medical marijuana grower who lives there, told them that two men wearing dark blue bandanas over their faces broke in while he slept in the living room. One had a .38-caliber revolver, a Sheriff's Department release said.
Both robbers allegedly began to demand that Patterson give them money, and he turned over $700. Patterson said the suspects told him to lie on the ground, facedown. Fearing that the two intended to kill him, Patterson said he fought back. "I knew I had to come up with something because I wasn't going to go for that," he said. "It just turned into a large brawl."
During the fight, one intruder fired a single shot, but no one was hit, authorities said. Patterson said he sustained bruising to the face and a shoulder injury.
Police said the suspected robbers eventually gave up the fight and fled.
About half an hour after receiving a 911 call about the home invasion, deputies in the 15000 block of Meadow Lane in Sams Valley pulled over a vehicle with a woman driver and two male passengers who matched the robbers' description.
Police brought Patterson to the traffic stop area and he identified Sandlin and Callas as his assailants, authorities said. Police said Villa-Staton was their getaway driver.
"We've had a lot of break-ins in the area, home robberies," Patterson said. "The Sheriff's Department did a great job apprehending these home invaders."
Investigators said all three suspects admitted to the home invasion. Sandlin told police that he worked in the grower's medical marijuana garden and was owed money, so he, Callas and Villa-Staton went to the house to take money and marijuana he felt he was owed, police said.
Under Oregon law, workers at medical marijuana sites may not be paid. Medical marijuana growers also cannot legally make a profit from their crops, but may be compensated for expenses they incur.
All three suspects have a preliminary hearings scheduled for 4 p.m., Monday, August 6 at the Jackson County Circuit Court building.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.