A 43-year-old man has been sentenced to nearly eight years in prison for beating an 88-year-old Anoka County homeowner with the victim's own flashlight while an accomplice who knew the resident made off with a safe holding $20,000.

Eddie M. Demmings, no permanent address, was convicted by a jury and sentenced Friday in Anoka County District Court on charges of burglary and aggravated robbery.

His accomplice, Jane M. Parker, 48, of Coon Rapids, pleaded guilty to simple robbery and testified against Demmings. She is now on probation after receiving credit for more than eight months of time served.

"This was a horrific crime committed against an elderly man," County Attorney Tony Palumbo said. "We are glad the victim recovered fully and that justice for the victim required a lengthy prison sentence."

According to the charges:

On Nov. 7, 2013, Frank M. Shimek was in his Oak Grove home when he heard a car pull up to his house. Shimek picked up a large flashlight and went outside, where he was ambushed by Demmings, who punched and beat him with the flashlight. The assault left Shimek's face bloodied, cut and bruised.

Parker, an ex-girlfriend of the victim's son, then took the safe with the cash.

Shimek offered Parker's identity as someone who might be involved. Police contacted Parker, who told them that she mentioned the safe and the cash "one night during pillow talk" with Demmings.

Police collected from the scene the safe's handle, a pocket knife, a work glove and the fingertip of a latex glove. DNA from that evidence was compared to Demmings' DNA. Results from the tests helped implicate Demmings in the crime.

Demmings' criminal history spans more than two decades and includes convictions in Minnesota for assault, theft, receiving stolen property, drug possession, drunken driving and illegal possession of a firearm.

Parker has been convicted on a theft charge, drug possession and damage to property.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482