Armed robbery draws 11-year sentence

Friday, December 7, 2007
Robert Derrick Johnson

The man who confessed to robbing a Lewisburg convenience store clerk at knife-point on Aug. 30 has been sentenced to 11? years in prison by Marshall County Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler.

Robert Derrick Johnson, 36, of Shelbyville pleaded guilty on Wednesday to Crigler, who sanctioned the sentence as negotiated for Johnson by Shelbyville-based attorney Robert Marlow with Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard.

Armed with a knife, Johnson approached the clerk, demanded money when the cash register drawer was open and fled north on Highway 50 toward Interstate 65, Barnard said while establishing a factual basis for Johnson's plea. Johnson agreed to the description.

Police arrived at the On The Run convenience store and Exxon gas station on Highway 50 just minutes after the crime, Barnard said. An "extremely good" video image of the suspect was obtained from the store's surveillance system and Johnson's name was provided by police sources.

Such information apparently included Johnson's mug shot at the Lincoln County Jail, where he had been held on a charge of violating the sexual offender registry. Two months before the robbery, Marlow successfully defended Johnson in the registry case after the jury heard testimony on whether he was living with a girlfriend, or just visiting her.

About a month after the robbery, Marlow called authorities saying he had a client who wanted to turn himself in, Barnard said. Johnson confessed that day, Sept. 28.

Johnson's other previous convictions, according to the prosecutor, included false imprisonment and forgery of a pass to leave a military base, not enough to justify a mandatory full term. Johnson's 11.5-year sentence came with a release eligibility date after serving 30 percent of the time. Johnson will be eligible for a hearing before a parole board in 3.5 years.

Aggravated robbery can be punished with terms ranging from eight to 30 years, depending on a defendant's prior convictions.