Mountains

10-year sentence for robbery

Rhodes

By Michael Maresh Journal staff writer

The second man accused in the armed robbery of a Cortez medical marijuana facility in February 2012 was sentenced Thursday afternoon to 10 years in prison.

True Earth Medicine, located at 302 North Broadway in Cortez, was robbed at approximately 6 p.m. Feb. 1, 2012, by two suspects.

Three days after the robbery, Luis Thomas White was arrested for the crime after police obtained a search warrant for his residence.

White, 31, who initially pleaded not guilty, accepted a plea bargain that District Court Judge Douglas Walker accepted.

Initially charged with more than 10 crimes, White, under a plea agreement pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated robbery between the amounts of $1,000 to S20,000.

White simply stated "I apologize" when he addressed the court prior to the sentence being handed down.

Defense Attorney John Baxter said the substance addictions of his client could have played a role in the crime.

Walker explained to White his reasoning behind the sentence.

"Life has not been kind to you, but at some time I have to care about the community more than you," Walker said. "And unfortunately this is one of those times."

Walker pointed out the aggravating factors in the robbery, which included the use of a weapon, for the increased length of the prison sentence. The range for aggravated robbery without any aggravating circumstances is two to six years in prison.

White showed no emotion when the 10-year prison term was announced.

Walker told White that he would be offered the opportunity to receive mental and substance treatment while incarcerated.

White, who received 367 days credit for time served was also ordered to pay restitution costs, though Walker gave the DA's office 90 days to come up with the total.

At the conclusion of the sentencing Walker wished White good luck.

Brandon James Rhodes, 32, was given a 10-year sentence July 26 for his role in the robbery. He pleaded guilty to robbery and in exchange for cooperation with authorities all of the other charges were dropped.

By pleading guilty, Rhodes admitted to participating in the kidnapping of a store employee, forcing her to the back room, and to having a prior conviction for distribution of marijuana.

At the time, Jennifer Klein, an employee at the center, said two masked men with guns came in, held her at gunpoint, taking money, products and whatever they could get their hands on.

The larger of the two suspects jumped over the counter, and ordered her to her knees, she said.

The men then gave Klein a rope and told her to tie herself up, she said, which she was unable to do.

Despite being tied up by the suspects, Klein said she was able to get free and call police on her mobile phone.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com

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