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Man enters plea to robbery

October 22, 1997

A Cambridge, Md., man entered an Alford plea to a robbery charge Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court, refusing to admit to the May 7 crime.

Judge Fred Wright sentenced Michael Wheatley, 24, to two years in prison. A charge of assault was dropped in exchange for the plea.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges the state could produce evidence to gain a conviction, but does not admit guilt.

Deputy Washington County State's Attorney Charles Strong said Jerry Desjardins, the victim of the robbery, told Hagerstown City Police he was walking with his wife in the 100 block of West Church Street at 3:14 a.m. on May 7 when a man approached.

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Desjardins told police there was a struggle for the $15 Desjardins had in his hand and then Wheatley delivered a shoulder block that knocked Desjardins to the ground, Strong said.

Wheatley was picked up a short time later on North Jonathan Street. The money, which included a $5 bill and 10 one dollar bills, was found on Wheatley, Strong said.

"That included a $1 bill that had a red mark on it and was identified by the victim,'' Strong said.

Wheatley, who admitted to a serious alcohol problem, faces up to eight years backup time for a parole violation and a probation violation, according to his attorney Carl Creeden.

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