CLEVELAND– Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Joe Jurevicius described how a man terrorized him at his Gates Mills home at the sentencing hearing on Thursday.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy McDonnell sentenced Robert Howse, 24, to 45 years in prison on charges including aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery.
On Sept. 13, a woman walked into the bedroom of her house in Gates Mills to find a man standing there. Prosecutors said Howse pointed a gun at her, but she ran, locked herself in a bathroom and called 911.
The following day, the Jurevicius family had just finished dinner when Joe Jurevicius noticed a light on in the barn behind his home and went outside to check. That’s where Howse forced him to open a safe while he held a gun to the back of his head, according to prosecutors. Jurevicius said the man repeatedly threatened to shoot him.
“For 30 minutes, I was terrorized,” Jurevicius told the judge. “I thank God every day that it was me, and not my wife and two young kids, who walked into that barn.”
Prosecutors said Howse put on Jurevicius’ Super Bowl gloves so he wouldn’t leave fingerprints. He stole a gun, alcohol and camera equipment while demanding cash. The former wide receiver even offered his Super Bowl ring.
“Robert Howse wore the damn gloves that I wore in the Super Bowl while my kid was fighting for his life,” Jurevicius said. His son Michael died as an infant.
As they went towards the house to get money, Jurevicius seized the opportunity to protect his family. He bolted the door and got out a gun as his wife made a frantic 911 call.
“The fighter in me loves payback, but I know what I want wouldn’t be allowed in court,” he said.
Jurevicius, a Cleveland native, said the ordeal makes him regret returning home. He won the Super Bowl with Tampa Bay in 2002 and played with the Browns from 2006 to 2008.
Howse was wearing a GPS monitor at the time of the robbery and was arrested on Sept. 15. He has a lengthy criminal history and was released from prison in May after serving time for robbery, burglary and receiving stolen property.
Prosecutors said he robbed two 15-year-old boys during a home invasion, threw feces at guard while incarcerated and is a member of the Heartless Felons gang.