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Teen sentenced to nearly six years

Barely 16, a boy who robbed and battered two Medford brothers after luring them from the mall in November was sentenced to almost six years in prison.

Loren James Self pleaded guilty Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court to two counts of second-degree robbery. Self was 15 when he committed the Nov. 12 crime and was charged as an adult under Oregon's mandatory sentencing law, Measure 11.

Self's attorney, Robert Abel, argued for a reduced sentence based on his client's age. Self turned 16 just a month ago and was moved from the county's juvenile detention facility to the main jail, Abel told the court.

Self stood a better chance at rehabilitation if the sentence of five years and 10 months was reduced and allowed his participation in specialized programs, Abel argued.

"Because of his age, we should let the juvenile system do its work," Abel said.

Circuit Court Judge Ray White said he was tempted to deviate from Oregon law — allowing for specific circumstances, including a defendant's age — but would not because of Self's "deliberate cruelty."

"The facts are just so horrendous," White said.

Self, along with his two older brothers and a friend, repeatedly beat 20-year-old Reymundo Rodriguez and 16-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez after taking the brothers' cash, cell phones and identification.

Two girls, 17-year-old Ashley Renee Wooten and a 14-year-old who was charged as a juvenile, had approached the Rodriguez brothers at the Rogue Valley Mall and asked for a ride to the Crater Lake Avenue house, where they had been staying with Self, his brothers and another friend.

Once they arrived, 17-year-old Alonzo Knight Self asked the Rodriguezes to come inside because they were having a party, said Beth Heckert, county deputy district attorney. Instead, the brothers were threatened with a pellet gun that resembled a handgun, tied up and repeatedly kicked and punched.

The Rodriguezes were turned loose once the Selfs' older brother, 20-year-old Samuel Addams Buchanan, stole clothes the Hispanic brothers had purchased at the mall and stereo equipment from their Ford Expedition. Together, the Rodriguezes carried about $1,200 in cash, Heckert said.

Speaking through a Spanish interpreter, Reymundo Rodriguez asked White to give Loren Self "fair time."

"Perhaps the next time, he may kill somebody," Rodriguez told the court.

His aunt, 29-year-old Jennifer Rodriguez told White that she struggled to comprehend the crime.

"They didn't try to fight back," she said. "They still tied them up and beat them for pleasure."

Self told police that his mother, 43-year-old Sheila Self, used to lure men to motel rooms and steal their money, Heckert said. He and his brothers talked about committing a robbery to bail their mom out of jail but instead spent the money on beer, pizza and clothes, Heckert added. Sheila Self was arrested two days previously on charges of possessing methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of minors.

The Self brothers and Buchanan had been in involved in drug abuse and criminal activity "almost since birth," Abel told the court. Alonzo and Loren previously were charged as juveniles with a residential burglary while living in Shasta Lake, Calif., Heckert said.

Alonzo Self and Buchanan both have pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree robbery and were sentenced to five years and 10 months apiece in prison. Wooten's plea and sentencing are set for April 17. The hearing for 20-year-old Andrew Ryan Jones was postponed Friday because Heckert and Jones' attorney had not agreed on terms of his plea.

The juvenile court case against the 14-year-old girl is pending, Heckert said. Oregon's mandatory sentencing law allows adult prosecution of teens 15 and older. The Mail Tribune prints names of teenage crime suspects only when they are charged as adults.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail slemon@mailtribune.com.