Robbery suspects sentenced

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Two suspects in a January armed-robbery of the Piggly Wiggly in Natchez – in which an assistant manager was shot in the legs – were sentenced Monday in Adams County Circuit Court.

One day prior to their scheduled trail, Kareem Baldwin, 817 North Rankin St., and Corey V. Robinson, 22, 12 Roundale St., both pleaded guilty to armed robbery Monday. A second charge of aggravated assault was retired to the files.

Baldwin was sentenced to 15 years. After serving 10 years he is to serve the remaining five on post release supervision.

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Robinson was sentenced to 12 years. He is to serve seven of those years with the remaining five on post release supervision.

&uot;I was very fortunate that I wasn’t killed,&uot; said Donnie Boles, the victim.

Because he was on blood thinners, Boles said he could have easily have bled to death in a matter of minutes.

&uot;I don’t think they need a slap on the wrist,&uot; Boles said about the suspects. &uot;I think they need some time.&uot;

The evening of the robbery, Corey Robinson drove a getaway car to the Executive Inn and Suites adjacent to Piggly Wiggly as Baldwin ran into the store with his brother, Carlos D. Thomas, 817 North Rankin St.

Thomas, said to be the triggerman in the robbery, was arraigned Monday in Adams County Circuit Court. He will stand trial October 30 on charges of aggravated assault, armed robbery and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He is already serving time in a state prison after getting his probation revoked because of the robbery.

Charges were dropped in February against a fourth suspect, Terrance M. Broadus, of 104&160;South Hickory St., Vidalia, La., because prosecutors lacked evidence that he actively aided and abetted the other defendants in the crime.

Circuit Court Judge Forrest &uot;Al&uot; Johnson reminded the defendants Monday that they were quite lucky.

&uot;Consider it by God’s Grace you’re not up here on a murder charge,&uot; he said to Baldwin.

To have society, we must have law and order and people must be held accountable for their actions, Johnson said.

&uot;We don’t run around like a bunch of wild animals,&uot; he said.

In addition to supportive comments from their attorneys, Baldwin’s family members and friends spoke on his behalf at the hearing.

&uot;He’s a sweet child,&uot; said Dorothy Johnson, Baldwin’s grandmother. &uot;I hope the court (will show) mercy on him and allow him a second chance.&uot;

In a statement Baldwin gave police the week of the crime and read at Monday’s hearing, Baldwin wrote that the crime was committed due to &uot;drastic situations&uot; in is life.

This month in a new statement he told police that he and Robinson had tried to prevent Baldwin from robbing the store.

&uot;I really tried to talk (my brother) into coming back to the car,&uot; he said in a letter to the police.

Boles did not believe that account coincided with his memories of the shooting.

&uot;All I know is two guys ran in the store screaming and cussing,&uot; he said.

Boles said he was satisfied with sentences and he felt sorry for Baldwin’s family, many of whom left the courtroom in tears.

But he realizes the scene could have been quite different.

&uot;It could have been my family crying for me,&uot; he said.

The two defendants were also required to each pay one third of the restitution in the case and other court expenses.