Prosecutor Jeff Adams was expecting 21-year-old Najuon D. Courtney to enter Spotsylvania County Circuit Court on Tuesday from a side door reserved for jail inmates.
Courtney was scheduled to be sentenced on convictions stemming from an armed home-invasion robbery at a townhouse on Lafayette Boulevard in Spotsylvania on Feb. 23, 2018. One of Courtney’s convictions, armed burglary, carries a potential life sentence.
He was also convicted of attempted robbery, conspiracy to induce false testimony and a firearms charge that carries a mandatory three-year prison sentence.
But Courtney didn’t show up at all. It turns out he had been released from the Rappahannock Regional Jail on July 29 after serving time on an unrelated charge. A bond he had initially received for the home invasion apparently was never revoked.
Judge Ricardo Rigual issued a capias for Courtney’s arrest Tuesday and his formal sentencing has been delayed until after he is apprehended.
“To say that I was surprised [that Courtney was free on bond] is certainly an understatement,” Adams said.
According to court records and attorneys involved in Courtney’s cases, Courtney was arrested on March 4, 2018, for his role in the home invasion. According to evidence presented when he was convicted in March, Courtney was wearing a mask and carrying a gun when he surprised the victims—a woman and her young adult daughter—in the bedroom of their townhouse.
While the victims were with Courtney, someone downstairs was going through their belongings. A cellphone, cash and other property were taken. The younger victim knew Courtney from attending Chancellor High School with him.
Several months after his arrest last year, a substitute judge granted Courtney a $7,500 bond over the objection of the prosecutor. Courtney was still on bond when he was arrested again Sept. 12, 2018, this time on a charge of receiving a stolen firearm.
That charge came to light after one of Courtney’s friends accidentally shot himself with the gun.
Courtney was placed back in the regional jail Sept. 12, 2018, and remained there until his July 29 release. On that same day, his sentencing on the home-invasion incident was delayed for a second time, and he was sentenced to three years with all but three months suspended on the unrelated firearms offense.
Because he had already served well in excess of three months, and because his bond on the other charges had never been revoked, Courtney was released.
“It was just an unusual situation,” said attorney Jim Ilijevich, who is representing Courtney in the home-invasion case.
Ilijevich said he had been in contact with Courtney since his release and expected him to show up for court Tuesday.
Courtney was also scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday on misdemeanor probation violations, for which he could receive up to 18 months in jail.