By MELINDA WILLIAMS
A Salem man who surrendered himself to authorities after learning of the arrest of his co-defendants in a July robbery at Radio Shack pleaded guilty to an amended charge Thursday.
Cedric Bernard Gillum, 25, was charged with armed robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a robbery and breaking and entering to commit a robbery. However, under a plea agreement, the armed robbery was amended to robbery (without a weapon or threat) and the firearm and breaking and entering charges were nolle prosequi (not prosecuted with the option to re-file).
Judge Marcus Long Jr. accepted Gillum’s plea agreement, which called for Gillum to serve two years, and two months of a 15-year prison sentence. Gillum also was ordered to pay restitution and court costs and he will be placed on 15 years probation (three supervised) upon release from prison.
According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Skip Schwab, Gillum testified against co-defendant, Shelton Jamal Smith, 24, of Charlotte, in an April trial that resulted in a jury convicting Smith of robbery and use of a firearm in the commission of a robbery. The jury recommended an eight-year sentence for Smith, who will be sentenced July 12.
Their co-defendant, Tawaan Maurice Batten, 22, of Charlotte, entered into the same type of plea agreement in May, with the exception that he will have to serve four years of a 15-year sentence.
In summarizing the evidence, Schwab said one Radio Shack employee was out of the store on a meal break, leaving another employee alone, when the three men entered the store. One of the men was carrying a gun and not wearing a mask and the other two were wearing masks, but weren’t armed.
Gillum stayed at the front of the store, while Batten and Smith went to the back and demanded money from the cash register, according to Schwab. After receiving the money, they left.
Residents of a nearby apartment complex told Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office investigators that three men were seen entering an apartment there, then leaving in a cab.
Gillum told police they went to Roanoke that night and he never saw his co-defendants again after that, Schwab told the judge.