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Man pleads guilty in Burger King robbery

July 28, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A Martinsburg man accused of robbing Burger King in Inwood, W.Va., in May entered a guilty plea to first-degree robbery Monday.

Denis Wade Jones Jr., 22, could be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and up to 25 years in prison if he does not successfully complete rehabilitation program requirements at the Anthony Correctional Center for young adult offenders in Greenbrier County, W.Va., within a six-month to two-year term.

Jones' prison sentence was deferred by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III, who cited "mitigating factors" in his decision to give the defendant a last chance at rehabilitation.

While Jones has no significant criminal history, Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely on Monday told Silver that Jones' apparent drug-induced actions were inexcusable and asked the court to sentence the man to 25 years in prison.

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"We've got to stop this cycle somewhere," Games-Neely said.

Police have said Jones came into the restaurant the night of May 2 and ordered a medium drink. He did not have enough money, then ordered a smaller drink and still did not have enough money.

Jones then jumped over the counter when the clerk opened the register to put $1.25 in quarters he gave her into the drawer, police have said.

Jones shoved the clerk out of the way and left the store with $120, Games-Neely said Monday.

Jones told the court Monday that he and his wife, Amber Nicole Jones, 23, who also was charged in the robbery, then went to Baltimore to buy heroin.

Jones apologized in court for his actions and said he took "full responsibility" for them.

If Jones successfully completes the program at the Anthony Correctional Center, Silver said he would place the defendant on five years of supervised probation, but the judge would retain the discretion to order the prison sentence if he violates probation.

Silver said the case warranted incarceration, but also indicated Jones did not use a weapon in the robbery and noted Jones' criminal history only consisted of three or four traffic-related violations.

In a separate hearing Monday, attorneys handling the state's case against Amber Jones told Silver they reached an agreement to resolve the first-degree robbery and conspiracy charges against her.

Silver is expected to decide whether to accept a plea agreement on Sept. 21 that would allow Amber Jones to enter a guilty plea to conspiracy, with the robbery charge being dismissed by the state.

Jones' wife was driving the getaway vehicle during the robbery and police have said she admitted to driving to Baltimore after purchasing gas at the Flying J at the Virginia state line.

Denis Jones, who will turn 23 on Aug. 6, was only days away from no longer being eligible for the Anthony Correctional Center program, Silver said.

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