The last of four men who conspired to carry out a Chanceford Township home-invasion robbery — but who had the tables turned on them by the gun-wielding homeowner — has been sentenced to prison.
Robert Dale Young, 28, of Lower Windsor Township, on Thursday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, according to court documents.
As part of a negotiated plea agreement, he was sentenced to 2-1/2 to five years in state prison, documents state.
Chad Heath Miller, 34, of High Street in Felton, who state police said was the mastermind of the group, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, robbery and burglary, and in February was sentenced to 15-1/2 to 31 years in prison.
Miller's cousin, 22-year-old James Lee Herlth of the same Felton address, pleaded guilty for his role in the case and was sentenced to 4-1/2 to nine years in prison, court records state.
Jacob Dittenhafer, 26, of Springfield Township, was part of the conspiracy, although he never entered the targeted home, according to police, who said he acted as the group's getaway driver. He was sentenced to two to four years in state prison, plus a consecutive six to 23 months for a parole violation on a unrelated case, records state.
The case: Miller and Herlth burst into the split-level home of Doug Downs on Brownton Road about 12:40 a.m. Oct. 23, 2012, brandishing guns, according to state police.
Downs' roommate, Andy Boyd, was forced at gunpoint to lead Miller downstairs to where Downs kept his safe, police said.
Meanwhile, Downs struggled with Herlth but stopped when Herlth threatened to shoot him, police said.
Canine assist: That's when Peaches, the victims' Jack Russell terrier/pug mix, began jumping on Herlth and barking, which distracted him long enough for Downs to pull out a gun and shoot him three times in the chest, police said.
But Herlth was unaffected because he was wearing a bulletproof vest, police said.
"So I aimed for his head (and fired)," Downs recounted, causing Herlth to stagger down the stairway, drop his gun and slide down the stairs.
Shot at Miller: Downs said he also fired at Miller, but that Miller also seemed unaffected. Police later found two bloody bulletproof vests and a handgun inside Dittenhafer's shed, police said.
Herlth suffered gunshot wounds to his neck, chest and hands; he was also was shot in the arm by co-conspirator Young, police said.
Peaches, the 12-pound dog who Downs credited with possibly saving his life, was run over by a car and killed less than two months after the home invasion, according to Downs.
Last week, Downs told The York Dispatch that since the home invasion, he can no longer sleep at night.
Instead, he sleeps during the day so he can be vigilant at night for intruders, he said.