When he was 15-year-old Bobby King, he was playing football for the Dallastown Wildcats, getting good grades and, most importantly, off the streets and no longer selling drugs.
Now, the same young man is identified in police reports as Robert "Buck" King III, 19, one of York city's notorious "Stickup Boys." He is serving a 51/2-to-11-year prison stretch for armed robbery and facing two separate homicide charges.
"I don't know what happened," said public defender Barbara Krier, an administrative member of the York County drug court team. "Bobby had the brains. But once those (court-ordered) supports are withdrawn, it's hard not to go back. He had a real struggle buying in to the good life."
In April 2005, Bobby was the subject of a York Daily Record interview. He was living with his sister-in-law, Melanie Louey, while her husband, his brother, served in Afghanistan. He was getting his second chance after a run on the streets.
He graduated from the York County court's juvenile drug treatment program. He helped with his niece and nephew. He went for pizza with the family on weekends. He was happy and willing to sit down and talk about his success in turning his life around.
Last week, Rick Robinson, defense attorney for King's pending homicide cases, rejected a request to interview his client in prison.
King is accused of killing Juan Miguel Laboy during an Aug. 29, 2006, robbery with Donte "Furley" Milburn.
And he is accused of killing Kyree "Mir" White and wounding two others during an Aug. 30, 2007, robbery with his half-brother, Brian Michael Louey.
King was convicted of the Sept. 19, 2006, armed robbery and assault of Cadezia Ford.
Judge Michael J. Brillhart had called Bobby one of the county drug court "miracles" for the successes he made. Bobby was placed on the treatment program for dealing drugs, not for a chemical dependency.
Two and a half years later, before sentencing King to state prison for the armed robbery, Brillhart said, "This judge . . . is aware of the opportunities given to him for turning his life and circumstances around."
Krier said Friday, as she had in the 2005 interview, that peer pressure in the relatively close confines of city neighborhoods can make it difficult for teens to change their lifestyles.
While in juvenile drug treatment, Bobby was subject to regular meetings with a judge and probation officers, random drug screens, an early curfew, individual and group counseling and mandatory school attendance.
Melanie Louey, who could not be located this week for comment, made sure Bobby toed the line. In the 2005 article, she described meeting Bobby in 2001 and called him "very aggressive, very wild." She and her husband, Jodi Louey, sought and got legal custody of Bobby. She got Bobby into the drug treatment program.
She had said that Bobby thrived in a structured environment.
They had plans to go to Hawaii, where Jodi Louey was stationed with the U.S. Army. Bobby had dreams of playing football at Florida State.
Bobby and Melanie Louey had talked about the idea of setting up a college scholarship in Bobby's name to be awarded to some other promising drug-court graduate each year.
On Oct. 14, 2005, according to York Daily Record/Sunday News archives, Bobby King had one carry for no gain for the Wildcats. His name did not appear in the news again until Sept. 21, 2006, when York City Police first identified Robert "Buck" King III as one of the "Stickup Boys" who were committing violent armed robberies.
"Sending kids away and showing them structure and that people are committed to their success and then bringing them back, it's almost unfair to the kids," Krier said. "But he chose not to be in a situation where people would encourage him."
'THE STICKUP BOYS'
In 2006, York was plagued by a rash of robberies, many of which occurred downtown and all of which were committed by a group of men.
In 2006, then-Lt. Ron Camacho said, "About mid-August is when the name 'Stickup Boys' first came to light, and that this was an organized group doing violent robberies. .¤.¤. None of the robberies were ever committed solo, they were always in a group, sometimes that group could be as small as two, or as big as five. They were always armed with guns. ...
"If anybody gave them any sort of resistance, they started shooting," he added.
When asked why he thought the group was committing the robberies, Camacho said, "They're robbing people for money - these kids are young, they're not drug users. I think it's a combination of that and maybe the thrill. They became bolder and bolder."
In the case in which Robert "Buck" King III was convicted, Cadezia Ford was sitting on the front porch of a home in the first block of North Franklin Street on Sept. 19, 2006, when five men she knew pointed handguns at her and two others. The men pistol-whipped Ford and took $150 from her.