RIDGELAND - Madison and Rankin Counties' District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Avery Neyland was sentenced to 40 years in prison for two counts of armed robbery and one count of house burglary.

Fifteen years was suspended and Neyland will have to serve 25 years in prison day-for-day. In addition, he received five years of supervised probation.

In February, a Madison County jury found Neyland guilty, after only 30 minutes of deliberations, of the crimes that occurred at Sunchase Apartments in Ridgeland.

"Neyland and his codefendant forced their way into the victims' apartment and robbed them at gunpoint," Guest said. "A home invasion is a crime that resonates with all of us and the punishment must be severe."

On November 6, 2008, The Ridgeland Police Department was advised that a burglary, with a weapon, was occurring at Sunchase Apartments.

Neyland and his co-defendant walked into the apartment complex with one man's face covered with a bandanna and the other's face hidden with panty hose. They knocked on the door, then forced their way in through the partially opened door.

Neyland, armed with a weapon, forced the occupants of the apartment into the living room where he ordered them to empty their pockets, while his codefendant collected their mobile phones, cash and keys.

When Neyland went to check one of the women for money, the men who were also being held up, began to fight with Neyland and his co-defendant, at which point the defendants ran from the apartment.

Witnesses notified the Ridgeland Police Department that the defendants had left the scene and were able to give police a description of the defendants and their vehicle. Officers observed the vehicle and pulled it over.

Officers secured the vehicle and placed both defendants under arrest. Officers were attempting to locate the stolen mobile phones and asked the victims to call their phones so that they could correctly identify the stolen property.

When the first victim called the phone, it began to ring in the defendant's pocket. A second phone rang, and was found on the driver's side floorboard of the defendant's car. In addition, the officers found the stolen cash, the bandana and the nylon stockings the robbers used to mask themselves.

His co-defendant, Jason Fleming, has already been convicted and is serving 15 years in prison for the crimes.

Neyland was on probation at the time of his arrest for a conviction in Adams County for robbery.