Man gets 30 years for robbery

December 17, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 44-year-old man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for robbing a Falling Waters, W.Va., area convenience store at gunpoint in May 2007, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely said Tuesday.

Ernest Jay Wingerd of 1282 Jacobs Road, Martinsburg, was sentenced on Monday by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge David H. Sanders after hearing testimony from several witnesses, including Wingerd's mother and step-father.

Wingerd entered a guilty plea under Alford circumstances last month to one count of first-degree robbery as part of a plea that proposed to cap the maximum prison sentence that Sanders could impose at 30 years. Counts of possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm in February 2008 indictment were dismissed.

Without the plea agreement, Wingerd could have received as much as a life sentence in prison if found guilty, Games-Neely said.


Police said Wingerd on May 27, 2008, told a clerk at Lynn's Convenience Store at 28 Forever Green Drive to "give (him) all your big bills" and then reached into his shirt and pulled out a small caliber silver handgun and placed it on the counter, keeping the weapon under his hand.

The clerk told police the robber left the store with about $640 and used a Ford Expedition as a getaway vehicle, records show.

Police later discovered the vehicle used was reported stolen in Jefferson County and then found the sport utility vehicle at Wingerd's home. There police had said they found the stolen vehicle in a garage and clothing that matched the description of the robbery suspect.

"I was drunk and don't remember much about it," Wingerd allegedly told a State Police trooper investigating the robbery.

Berkeley Co. man charged in vehicle theft, armed robbery - May 31, 2007

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