Gunman to serve eight years for Ledyard home invasion

A Hartford man charged with forcing his way into a Ledyard home on July 20, 2017, and holding a gun to the head of one of the residents during a robbery pleaded guilty Friday in New London Superior Court.

Mitchell Ellerbe, 32, of Hartford, also known as "Crook," will be sentenced Nov. 15 to eight years in prison followed by five years of special parole for first-degree robbery, violation of probation and carrying a pistol without a permit.

Ellerbe was one of four people involved in the home invasion/robbery, according to State's Attorney Michael L. Regan. Two of the three others have been charged, and the fourth person has not been identified.

Kylie Pierson, 36, of Norwich and Kristal R. Lis, 28, of Mystic have cases pending in the same court and remain incarcerated.

Ellerbe, represented by attorney Carmine J. Giuliano, balked when the state's attorney read the facts of the case into the record during the plea hearing before Judge Hillary B. Strackbein. He said he didn't agree with a lot of what Regan said. He was allowed to enter his guilty pleas under the Alford Doctrine, which indicates he doesn't agree with the state's version of the crimes but does not want to risk a harsher sentence if convicted at trial.

According to Regan and court documents, Ellerbe, another man and Lis forced their way into a home on Smith Pond Way at 10:40 p.m., and Pierson stayed in the car. Lis had previously had a relationship with one of the home's occupants, Regan said. The two men had their faces covered and were wearing gloves.

During the robbery, Regan said Ellerbe put his gun to the head of one of the home's occupants and demanded the location of the guns in the home. The robbers left with 15 handguns, the victim's cellphone and other electronic devices. They also stole a truck from the residence but police found it nearby. Investigators recovered a glove that laboratory tests indicate had Ellerbe's DNA on it, Regan said.

Ellerbe had been convicted in a robbery case in 2006 and was on probation at the time of his latest arrest. He admitted Friday that he had violated the conditions of his probation.

He also pleaded guilty Friday to possession of a pistol without a permit. He had been arrested in September 2017 in an unrelated criminal trespass case and police said they found a 9-millimeter pistol on his waistband.

k.forin@theday.com

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