Jury finds Pa. man guilty in 7-Eleven robbery

June 04, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - His convicted accomplice testified Corey L. Williams had nothing to do with a convenience store robbery last year, but a Franklin County jury took less than half an hour Tuesday to find Williams guilty on all charges.

Williams, 21, of 412 Linden Ave., Chambersburg, was convicted of robbery, theft, criminal conspiracy, unlawful restraint, simple assault, receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm without a license in the March 3, 2002, holdup of the 7-Eleven at 11374 Buchanan Trail East in Rouzerville, Pa.

A couple working in the store, Charles and Beverly Baer of Waynesboro, both were bound with duct tape during the robbery, which was reported shortly before 4:30 a.m., according to Washington Township police.


Williams and Jared Smith, 18, of 310 W. Irva Drive, were stopped by Waynesboro police within minutes of the robbery. Inside the vehicle, police found a stolen .38-caliber revolver, a ski mask and the videotape from the store's security camera, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

In February, Smith pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to four to eight years in state prison. As part of a plea agreement, he was to testify against Williams in the trial, according to Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom.

On the stand, however, Smith said he and another man he called "J.B." committed the robbery and Williams was in the car unaware it was taking place. Smith said J.B. got out of the car shortly before they were stopped by police.

That conflicted with what police said Smith told them at the time of his arrest.

"He said he didn't want to see his friend go to prison," Sgt. Vernon Ashway of the Washington Township Police Department testified about a remark he said Smith made immediately after his testimony. "He stated he and Corey did the robbery at the 7-Eleven," said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper David Peck, who interviewed Williams on the day of his arrest in connection with an investigation into the stolen handgun. Both officers said Tuesday was the first time they ever heard about J.B.

"I didn't make anything up about J.B.," Smith said when Williams' attorney James Reed called him as the only defense witness. "I knew him from around Chambersburg," Smith testified, but could offer no other name, address or other identification for the person.

Smith testified he told police about J.B., but "They told me J.B. doesn't exist..." I said what they wanted to hear."

"Obviously the trial has gone to a place where the prosecution didn't expect it to go," Reed said in his closing argument. He said there was no eyewitness placing Williams at the robbery.

Township police records said the Baers were driven by police to where Williams and Smith were being detained after the robbery and the couple told police they appeared to be wearing similar clothing and were of similar build. Both robbers, however, were masked.

"Today is the first day anybody heard of J.B. That's because he doesn't exist," Krom told the jury.

Because a deadly weapon was used in the robbery, Williams faces at least five years in prison on the robbery charge, Krom said after the verdict. He is scheduled for sentencing on July 9.

Williams also is charged in the Jan. 30, 2002, robbery of the Getty Mart at 4188 Lincoln Way West in St. Thomas. In that case a masked gunman forced an employee and customers to the floor and fired a shot before stealing $282, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

That case is scheduled for the July trial term, according to court records.

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