Terrence Edwards told police his home was facing foreclosure. That’s apparently what drove him to the drastic action that landed him in prison, a botched stick-up of Michigan’s former state treasurer.
An Ingham County Circuit Court judge sentenced the 56-year-old Okemos man to five years behind bars Wednesday after he pled guilty to gun and armed robbery charges, the Lansing State Journal reports.
On the morning of August 31, 2012, Edwards confronted ex-state treasurer Douglas B. Roberts at his home in East Lansing, Mich. After a verbal dispute that lasted about 90 seconds, Edwards pulled a gun on the former state official, according to MLive.
Edwards, who reportedly worked in former Gov. John Engler’s administration with Roberts, later told police he thought the ex-treasurer could help him come up with $170,000 to save his home from foreclosure. The plan never developed that far, though. Roberts distracted Edwards with a contrived story about being terminally ill with cancer while his wife snuck off and called 911, according to the Journal.
Confused, Edwards walked away and was picked up by police about a mile from the home near the East Lansing Fire Department, according to MLive. After Edwards was charged with multiple felonies, Judge Clinton Canady III deemed him competent to stand trial, but said he thought Edwards had suffered “some kind of break with reality,” the Journal reports.
Michigan was hit especially hard by the housing market crash of the late 2000s. In 2007, Metro Detroit led the nation with nearly five percent of properties in some stage of foreclosure.
The threat of foreclosure and eviction has sometimes driven some state residents to take unusual measures to save their homes, though few as desperate as Edward’s actions. In 2012, with the aid of an anti-eviction coalition, Detroiter Jennifer Britt engaged in a vigil and peaceful blockade that resulted in a deal to keep her home. That year, Kelly Parker, a mother with cancer, also spray painted her Detroit residence in an effort to keep it from being bought at a county auction.