(WI) Tavern owner guns down armed robber 06-23-02

March 1st, 2012

(WI) Tavern owner guns down armed robber 06-23-02

Teen was a lost child when shot
Prison, program don’t steer boy from fatal path By JAMAAL ABDUL-ALIM
of the Journal Sentinel staff
Last Updated: June 23, 2002

Mollie Love thought the maximum length of time in prison would have been
enough to make the 14-year-old boy who took her car at gunpoint back in
1999 never pull a gun on anyone else.

“I don’t think counseling or probation will help,” Love, now 69, wrote
in a victim impact statement about the boy, Andre Bates, who took her
1992 Buick Roadmaster and threatened to shoot her outside her garage.

“Without strict discipline,” Love wrote, “what’s to stop him from doing
it again and again?”

But apparently not even the two-plus years that Bates spent at a
juvenile prison for the armed robbery of Love was enough to stop Bates
from robbing again.

This time, Bates met tragic results: The teenager was shot and killed
June 15 while trying to rob the Drop Inn, 3043 N. 35th St., court
records say. He died with the loot from the robbery in his pockets: 69
quarters, two $1 bills, four $5 bills and two $20 bills, the records

The tavern owner, Jack Moga, 67, told police he shot Bates one
“millisecond” before Bates fired his own gun. Prosecutors said Moga will
not be charged because they cannot show the shooting was unjustified.

Theodorick Harris, 31, a convicted armed robber, is charged with three
counts of armed robbery for his role in the robbery. Harris had been
sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1995 for two counts of armed robbery,
court records say.

Bates was under supervision at the time of his death through the state’s
Serious Juvenile Offender program, court records say.

The Department of Corrections on Friday denied the Journal Sentinel’s
request for Bates’ parole file, which contains details of his
supervision and efforts to rehabilitate him.
Silvia Jackson, deputy administrator of the state Division of Juvenile
Corrections, declined to comment on Bates’ case but defended her agency.

“Public protection is the most important part of what we do,” Jackson
said. “Ultimately, these juveniles have individual choices.”

The Serious Juvenile Offender program is a five-year program and the
most stringent under state juvenile law, short of waiving an accused
child into adult court. Offenders can spend up to three years in prison
and are to be monitored for the remainder of the program.

Jackson said the program gives juveniles counseling in the areas of
“skill-building” and “decision-making.”

So where did Bates – who was ordered into the program until October 2004
- go wrong?
Bates’ uncle, Philip Bates, 41, says his nephew’s troubles began early
on and arose from a continuing lack of nurturing and guidance in his

“I think Andre was calling out for help,” Philip Bates said. “But nobody
listened to him.”

A probation officer noted in 1999 that Bates “doesn’t seem to have any
strong attachments to either of his primary parents.” Court records also
indicate that Bates had poor academic skills because of “prolonged
environmental impoverishment.”

In many ways, Andre Bates’ childhood mirrors that of Laron Ball, the
20-year-old man who was killed in a Milwaukee County courtroom last
month as he struggled for a deputy’s gun after being pronounced guilty
of felony murder.

Like Ball, Andre Bates said he was “embarrassed” because he could not

A psychologist noted in 1999 that for Bates to have a “reasonable chance
of succeeding in our conventional socioeconomic society,” authorities
would have to address his “multiple special needs.”

Relatives say Andre Bates had a strained relationship with his parents.
Neither parent spoke at length or in detail about Bates’ childhood.

Philip Bates, an AT&T Internet sales representative in Modesto, Calif.,
had been visiting family in Milwaukee when his nephew was killed. Just
hours before Bates was killed, Philip Bates said, he advised the teen to
set goals and surround himself with positive people.

He said his nephew wanted to “turn his life around” and join the Job
Corps with a girlfriend he planned to marry. But the man was at a loss
to explain why his nephew failed to follow his advice.

Love, the woman Andre Bates robbed back in 1999, expressed concern over
the plight of youngsters such as Andre. A retired teacher’s assistant at
the McDowell Montessori School, Love also stressed the need to teach
children to read early on in life.

“Children have to feel like they are wanted, like they are part of
society, and people really care about them,” Love said. “But with nobody
telling you right from wrong or ‘I love you’ or ‘You did a good job,’
somewhere down the line, that child is going to get lost.”

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on June 24, 2002. http://www.jsonline.