A Henrico (VA) County teen who taunted police with tweets after he skipped his sentencing hearing in May won’t be using his Twitter account for the next five years.
In handing down punishment Wednesday against 18-year-old Hassan C. Atkins, Powhatan County Circuit Judge Paul W. Cella noted the defendant’s “marked disrespect for the court” in sentencing the teen to serve five years in prison for breaking into three Powhatan businesses last summer and stealing cash, laptops and other items.
The judge took into consideration Atkins’ three-week flight from justice and failure to meet with his probation officer when deciding a punishment for Atkins.
The five-year term is just above discretionary state sentencing guidelines, which called for an active term of incarceration of 2 years and 2 months on the low end and 4 years and 11 months on the high end.
A jury found Atkins guilty on seven charges Feb. 10. But on May 4, the day he was to be sentenced, Atkins skipped the hearing after learning from his attorney during a phone call that he likely would be receiving prison time.
Two days later, Atkins sent out a tweet that said, “You can keep on lookin for me Imma keep on running.” The post included emoji characters that depicted a face laughing so hard it’s crying and a running figure followed by a puff of wind.
The teen also tweeted that he was in Atlanta and on the run, said Powhatan Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Cerullo.
Henrico police Detective Joseph Morgello, who had been watching Atkins in connection with a gang investigation, monitored the teen’s social media accounts and discovered the tweets.
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