Armed robbery and violent young men
Here's a look at armed robbery indictments issued over the past year and what happened to them as they worked their way through Lauderdale County Circuit Court.
November 2000 grand jury
Indictment No. 1: Incident occurred July 1, 2000, at Naval Air Station Meridian's recreation center. More than $800 was taken. Three trial dates were set, and then the indictment was dismissed for lack of evidence.
Indictment No. 2: Victim was robbed of $25 and a credit card on July 14, 2000. Two trial dates were set, and then the indictment was dismissed because the victim died. The district attorney felt he needed his testimony to win a guilty verdict.
Indictment No. 3: Two men were indicted for allegedly robbing a Bonita Chevron employee of $500 on June 23, 2000. Charges were dropped against one defendant outright. In the case of the second, charges were dropped in exchange for guilty pleas in two unrelated cases.
Indictment No. 4: Incident occurred June 24, 2000, at a BP Minit Mart, where an employee was robbed of $100. Three trial dates were set, and then the defendant pleaded guilty to the lesser included charge of robbery. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail and will pay $1,140 in restitution.
Indictment No. 5: Defendant allegedly robbed his victim of $202 on Dec. 16, 1999. Three trial dates were set, and then the district attorney asked that the indictment be dismissed because his witness was not credible. The state's witness had at least one prior felony conviction and charges were pending against him in Lauderdale County for a similar offense.
March 2001 grand jury
Indictment No. 1: The robbery occurred Dec. 18, 2000, at Highland Cleaners and involved $300. Two trial dates were set, and then the defendant pleaded guilty to the lesser included charge of robbery. He was sentenced to 10 years, with three years suspended and seven to serve. He has to pay the $300 back.
Indictment No. 2: Victim was robbed of $30 on Nov. 13, 2000. Four trial dates were set; at least one required transferring the defendant from Walnut Grove Correctional Facility, where he was serving time for something else. The district attorney's final request for a delay in the trial was necessary because he couldn't locate the victim. The defendant objected, asserting his right to a speedy trial. The final trial date came and the victim could not be found. The indictment was dismissed.
Indictment No. 3: Two men were arrested in connection with an armed robbery that involved a non-fatal shooting. The date of the shooting was April 25, 2000. The indictment said $20 was taken. Both defendants were indicted for aggravated assault and armed robbery. A plea agreement was reached. One pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, and one to the lesser included charge of robbery. The one who pleaded guilty to robbery was sentenced to a year in jail. The one who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault was given a 20-year suspended sentence and placed on probation.
Indictment No. 4: The victim in this case was robbed of $100 on Dec. 16, 2000. The defendant pleaded not guilty, and three trial dates were set. The district attorney amended the indictment charging him now as a habitual offender and stating his intention to seek a life sentence without the possibility of parole if the case went to trial. The defendant's prior convictions, both in Texas, included aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated sexual assault. He decided to plead guilty to armed robbery after all, and received a 10-year prison sentence to be served "day for day." The victim was consulted and was present in the courtroom.
Indictment No. 5: A vehicle, money, checks and credit cards were taken at Old Tyme Grocery on Jan. 23, 2001. Three trial dates were set, and then the defendant's attorney filed a notice that three alibi witnesses would testify that the defendant was at a private home watching movies at the time of the alleged crime. He also noted that a fourth alibi witness had died, but his statement to law enforcement officers could be read into the court record. The indictment was dismissed for lack of evidence "at this time."
Indictment No. 6: Two men were charged with armed robbery involving $330 and possession of a firearm by a felon. The incident occurred on Dec. 19, 2000. Several trial dates were set, and one of the defendants skipped bail and had to be tracked down and re-arrested. Next, the victim was arrested as an accessory after the fact of murder in an unrelated case. Shortly afterward, the victim signed a formal request to drop charges, noting on the form that, "I will not testify as to what happened." The indictments were dismissed.
July 2001 grand jury
Indictment No. 1: Defendant allegedly stole a money bag Jan. 31, containing about $2,000 from an employee of The Beauty Depot. His trial has been set for Dec. 1.
Indictment No. 2: Two men were charged with capital murder and armed robbery in a fatal shooting that has been described by law enforcement officials as an "armed robbery gone bad." The shooting occurred on May 27. The trial has been set for Nov. 13, but will likely be rescheduled for a later date.