Posted at: 11/13/2012 11:26 AM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 11:09 AM
By: Nikki Rudd
She was a Division I athlete and graduated in the top 10-percent from Irondequoit High School. Now she's headed to state prison.
Sarah Cushman was sentenced Tuesday morning to 11 years in prison on robbery and burglary charges.
Cushman told the court she was addicted to drugs. She was involved in a home invasion last December involving 99-year-old Greece man. She also admitted to a string of tanning salon robberies across the county.
Cushman apologized to the victims and her family. She said, "Not once, did I dream I'd be a drug addict."
She told the court she was reduced to an animal level of living. She said she knew what she was doing was wrong.
"I can't blame my addiction. I place the blame and responsibility on myself," said Cushman. "I'm so ashamed of what my life has become. I'm so incredibly sorry. I know this sentence may have very well saved my life."
Family members and friends filled the courtroom. State Supreme Court Judge Joanne Winslow said she's never seen so much support for a defendant.
"A lot of people lover her," said Cushman family friend Alice Gucker. "In life we all make mistakes. Being a Christian, I just really believe in the Lord and we'll all pray for her and that she will beat this."
Judge Winslow told Cushman in court, "The most important thing you need to do is beat your addiction."
Cushman's co-defendants Jacob Buchanan and John Meyers have already pleaded guilty to charges and are serving 15 year prison sentences.