South Hadley man sentenced to jail in violent South Hadley home invasion

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Published: 3/30/2018 10:56:21 PM

NORTHAMTPON — A South Hadley man was sentenced Friday to 18 months in jail for his involvement in a violent home invasion last November.

Robert VanHoy, 20, pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to charges of home invasion, armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card and conspiracy. Two additional charges — possession of a loaded firearm and defacing a firearm serial number — were dropped.

A co-defendant, Joseph Massa, 19, who court documents list as being from Chester, pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court earlier this week. Massa pleaded guilty to charges of home invasion, armed robbery, assault and battery by discharging a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, possessing ammunition without a firearms identification card and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail followed by two years of probation.

A third person, Dupree Hinds, 31, of Chicopee, is also charged in connection with the incident and has pleaded not guilty to charges similar to those against Massa.

Detailing the allegations in court Friday, Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jeremy Bucci explained that VanHoy was present while Massa and Hinds made plans to rob a 29-year-old man who had sold marijuana to Massa in the past. Massa contacted the man who lives on Amherst Road in South Hadley to arrange a purchase on Nov. 26, 2016.

When the three men arrived on that November day, Massa went into the residence followed by Hinds and VanHoy, Bucci said. Hinds pulled out a firearm and pointed it at the man, demanding he hand over all the drugs he had. The man refused and told the three he would call police. It was at that time Hinds shot the man once in the stomach, Bucci said in court Friday.

Following the shooting, the three left the residence and on the way out VanHoy grabbed a bag of marijuana, Bucci said.

When he was later questioned by police about the incident, VanHoy admitted he participated but said he did not expect Hinds to shoot the man, Bucci said.

The 18-month jail sentence was presented to Judge Mary-Lou Rup as an agreed-upon plea recommendation. VanHoy’s attorney, Alfred Chamberland, told the judge VanHoy has been “enthralled” by Hinds, who introduced him to cocaine and heroin and ultimately became his heroin supplier.

VanHoy lived with Hinds for a short period and it was during that time the home invasion was planned out, Chamberland said.

In adopting the sentence recommendation, Rup urged that VanHoy make a new group of friends.

“I know that you have a very minor prior record but this is quite a way to start out,” Rup said. “These are incredibly serious offenses.”

VanHoy will receive credit for 485 days he has already served in jail. Following the 18-month jail sentence, VanHoy will have two years of probation with conditions that he stay away and have no contact with the victim, remain drug free, submit to a substance use evaluation and enroll in school or seek employment.

“Considering Mr. VanHoy’s youth, his lack of any prior record, his family support and the circumstances he found himself in because of his addiction, this was a fair disposition and the family was grateful to the court for accepting that disposition,” Chamberland said after the hearing.

Emily Cutts can be reached at

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