By MELINDA WILLIAMS
A Pulaski County jury Friday convicted a North Carolina man of robbing the Fairlawn Radio Shack store last July and recommended he serve eight years in prison.
Shelton Jamal Smith, 24, of Charlotte, N.C. was one of three men charged in the July 16 robbery. Court dates have yet to be set for his co-defendants, Cedric Bernard Gillum, 24, of Salem, and Tawaan Maurice Batten, 22, also of Charlotte.
Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis said at the time of the robbery that three black males entered the store, in Walmart Shopping Plaza in Fairlawn, around 7 that evening, taking an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register. He indicated one of the suspects was armed with a “large handgun.”
All three suspects were arrested the day after the robbery on charges of robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and breaking and entering while armed with intent to rob. Davis said police seized weapons and cash following their arrest.
According to court officials, Friday’s jury deliberated evidence in the one-day trial into the night Friday before returning with convictions on the robbery and firearms charges. The breaking and entering charge was nolle prosequi (not prosecuted with the option to refile) at the request of the prosecution.
The jury recommended Smith serve five years in prison on the robbery conviction and three years on the firearm conviction. However, it will be up to a judge to determine whether to accept the jury’s recommendation. The judge can impose a lesser sentence than the jury recommended, but he cannot impose a longer sentence.
Smith will be officially sentenced July 12.