An unsympathetic Judge Gerard Long sentenced an Indiana County man Thursday to five to 10 years in prison for terrorizing and robbing a Barr Township couple during a home invasion.

Police said four men broke into the couple’s home at gunpoint early July 28, 2005, tied the two up and stole cash and guns valued at more than $40,000.

Cory Edward Erb, 28, of Dixonville, told the judge he had been at the “wrong place at the wrong time,” in getting caught up with three others in the scheme.

But Long wasn’t swayed.

“If you would have come into my house with a gun, and I had the ability, I would have shot you,” the judge told Erb. “There’s nothing worse than a home invasion.”

Erb was ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and restitution on his guilty plea to the Nicktown-area robbery and theft. He will be permitted to remain in the county prison, at least for now, the judge said.

The couple were awakened at 1:30 a.m. by the intruders, who had broken through a front door, Trooper Mark Yakicic said in an affidavit of probable cause.

The victims were identified at the time of the robbery as Michelle Konwinski, then 39, and Allen Kirsch, then 66.

Gale Most, Konwinski’s mother, told Long that Konwinski died in May from cervical cancer, with which she had been diagnosed just days before the home invasion.

Most said she believes her daughter’s death was hastened by stress from the break-in.

Konwinski’s battle against cancer – and her plea for women to have Pap smears for early detection of the disease – has been outlined in thousands of fliers distributed through the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona. Her mother said Konwinski was an Army veteran and had been treated at the center.

One co-defendant, Charles Dale Wise, 27, of Clymer, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27. Another, Justin Paul Smith, 27, of Cherry Tree, was sentenced by Long in November to five to 10 years in prison.

The fourth accomplice, Edward Faber, has since died, the judge was told.

Wise told police he had driven the getaway car, according to the affidavit. He said he dropped off the three other men and then returned an hour later to pick them up.

A total of 34 guns were stolen in the break-in, police said. Kirsch and Konwinski eventually were able to free themselves and walk to a neighbor’s house to call for help.

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