In court

Cristian Baitg/Metro

A lesser participant in a 2018 fatal home robbery in North Pole took a plea deal on Monday.

Jeremiah Wesley Kinnish, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary, both Class III felonies. Although he was a minor participant and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, Kinnish will spend the next six years in prison due to his felony criminal history.

Kinnish’s lawyer, Olivia Mackin, noted that Kinnish did not fire any shots during the home invasion that left one man dead and another seriously injured. Superior Court Judge Earl Peterson agreed that Kinnish was “a lesser participant” in a situation that “got out of hand very badly very quickly.” The judge also noted that Kinnish agreed to cooperate and testify against others charged in the crime.

Since Kinnish has three felonies on his record, Peterson handed down the maximum sentence of 10 years with six years suspended for each charge. However, the defense asked for a composite sentence, which would allow Kinnish to serve a portion of his jail sentences concurrently. Peterson allowed Kinnish to serve two years of his prison sentence simultaneously. Kinnish was ultimately given 18 years with 12 suspended, meaning that he will serve six years in total.

Additionally, Mackin asked that a second case against Kinnish be dropped. Kinnish was originally given 30 days for violating conditions of probation; at the time of the invasion, he was on probation for providing false information. This violation was revoked by Peterson.

Kinnish is “getting a break, but it’s a break he’s earned because of his cooperation,” Peterson said.

He was originally charged with three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of first-degree assault and third-degree misconduct involving weapons for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Kinnish is one of six people charged in connection to the fatal North Pole robbery. The event took place July 22, 2018, after Joshua Erickson enlisted Kinnish and three other people to help him rob the home of Charles Baptiste and Wayne Daniel, according to charging documents. A fifth person, Kyle Morris, was also charged in connection to the incident. Morris admitted to officers that he knew Erickson was planning a robbery and recruited participants.

Allegedly, Baptiste and Daniel owed Erickson money. All assailants arrived at the home armed, charging documents stated, and both Baptiste and Daniel were shot during the invasion. Both were transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where Baptiste ultimately succumbed to his injuries. Daniel was seriously injured but survived.

Kinnish has an extensive criminal record that includes three prior felony convictions, but no other violent offenses.

Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 907-459-7544 or mthomas@newsminer.com.

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