PORTLAND — Two Lewiston men were re-sentenced in federal court Wednesday to lower prison terms after appeals stemming from a 2014 home invasion in Minot; each of them shaving years off their prison time.

Prosecutors said Victor Lara Jr., 38, and Kourtney Williams, 31, invaded a home on Garfield Road on Aug. 2, 2014,  intending to rob someone they believed to be a drug dealer of the opioid Percocet and drug proceeds.

Lara was armed with a crowbar. He assaulted two of the victims, making them bleed, according to prosecutors.

Williams brandished a Taurus 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, which he used to threaten the victims, pressing the gun against the head of one of them, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Jon D. Levy said Wednesday.

Lara and Williams sought to bind the victims, but one of them escaped, causing Lara and Williams to flee.

“The robbery could have ended much worse than it did” had one of the victims not escaped, Levy said.

Williams was a convicted felon and was forbidden from having a gun.

Lara and Williams were convicted at jury trials on charges of robbery conspiracy and using a firearm during a crime of violence. Williams was also convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and both were sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison.

On appeal, the charge of using a firearm during a crime of violence was overturned last summer.

In 2019, a third co-defendant who had pleaded guilty to charges in the case rather than go to trial entered a new plea and received a reduced sentence.

On Wednesday, Levy imposed new sentences. He gave Lara 10½ years in prison and Williams 11 years and 8 months, with a concurrent sentence of five years on the charge of being a felon with a gun.

Both men will serve three years of supervised release after prison.

“Lara grew up in New York City in the mid-1980s where gangs and guns where a major part of life in the poorer blacker sections of town,” his attorney, Luke Rioux, wrote in court documents.

“Victor and his younger sister, Jazmin, were raised by their mother in his early childhood,” Rioux said. “His mom never had much money and when little she had was often spent on drugs or alcohol. Victor only met his father once when he was about 5 years old. His dad has never been a part of his life. In the late 80s and 90s crack cocaine swept through the city and took his mother with it. By 7 years old, his mother was gone and he was taking care of his younger sister.”

Lara and his sister were taken in by his maternal grandmother, Rioux wrote

“He remembers a mostly good life with her,” he wrote. “The neighborhood was still violent and he remembers hearing guns and occasionally having neighbors and friends wind up dead. When he was 12 years old, Victor was attacked with a baseball bat and he sustained a serious head injury.

“He was in the hospital for a period of weeks recuperating,” Rioux said. The injury had lasting effect on his memory and personality. A short time later, when he was approximately 13 years old, his grandmother passed away. Her passing ended the last scrap of stability he would experience as a child. After her death, Victor and his younger sister were taken into foster care and sent to various group homes. At these homes Victor was abused by guards and attacked by other residents.”

Williams also had a “horrible childhood,” one filled with physical and sexual abuse and he was left homeless in Boston at a young age, Judge Levy said.

His attorney, Jeffrey Langholtz, said his client had been a nihilist, believing in nothing and drifting through life without purpose.

But several years after he was sent to federal prison, Williams had an epiphany after meeting with U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen who visited with him in 2019.

His prison experience horrified him, Langholtz said. Williams had been ordered by inmates early in his stay to stab another inmate. He had refused. He enrolled in several programs, logging roughly 300 hours, to better himself and better prepare himself for employment and a relationship with his 6-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son when he was released from prison.

“He’s rehabilitating himself,” his attorney said.

“I just want a chance to … make a life for myself,” Williams told the judge Wednesday.

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