London man sentenced to five years after holding elderly Petrolia women at knife point in their home

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Joshawa Clements

Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

One of the three men involved in a brazen armed home invasion and robbery in Petrolia will spend five years in prison for his part in the harrowing event.

Joshawa Clements, 30, received a five-year prison term for his role in the June 2017 armed robbery at a home on the Petrolia Line.

Clements was found guilty in January. The London man appeared in Sarnia July 31 to learn his fate as the Superior Court held a rare in-person session.

Just 11 people were in the courtroom, most of which was taped off to ensure physical distancing.

The court heard Clements, along with two other men, had driven from London in the middle of the night with the intent of stealing prescription medication from the house. The trio arrived in Petrolia at 3 am.

Two of the men busted into the Petrolia Line house and held the two residents – an elderly woman and her daughter – at knife-point while they searched for the prescription medication they were taking.

After finding it, the three men left and drove back to London.

Clements’ two alleged accomplices – Taylor Evans, 27 from Strathroy, and Thomas Hudson, 29 from London – were later arrested. It took OPP longer to bring in Clements, but he was eventually found and charged.

Evans was sentenced to four years and four months for his role in the crime.

Friday, Clements’ defense lawyer, Luigi Perzia, tried to introduce new evidence that would reopen the trial and see Clements’ guilty verdict thrown out. Perzia claimed that there was a height discrepancy between Clements and what the victims described, who were wearing masks during the robbery.

Justice Russell Raikes – who presided over Clements case – said the height difference was negligible, and there had been plenty of chances to raise the issue.

“I’m satisfied that there is no doubt on the evidence that I heard and that I saw that Mr. Clements was one of the two intruders who went into… the home and committed the robbery,” says Raikes.

Justice Raikes outlined a long history of personal struggles for Clements, including domestic violence and drug use in his home and a criminal record that began at age 13.

While Justice Raikes says Clements has held down a job and taken drug rehab programs since the crime, the event itself was extremely serious and obviously pre-planned.

Most concerning was the effect on the victims. “The incident involved vulnerable victims in their home at three o’clock in the morning with weapons and masks. It was a truly terrifying experience for the victims and has left them with long-lasting fear and anxiety as a result.”

Justice Raikes sentenced the man to five years in federal prision. Generally, the sentence for home invasions is between four and 12 years.

“The incident was of short duration, no violence was inflicted, and the damage done to the home was very modest,” says Raikes.

Clements was credited with 284 days of pre-sentence custody, leaving him four years and almost three months left to serve.

Before Clements was led away, Justice Raikes told him, “You’re a young guy. What happened happened… but where you go from here in the future is entirely up to you,” says Raikes.

“I see in you enormous potential. When you get out I urge you to get on the path that you know you should be on.”