Sentences handed out in Marengo County

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 14, 2004

LINDEN – A would-be robber was sentenced to seven years in the state penitentiary for trying to steal the night’s deposit from Sonic in Demopolis.

Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway Jr. sentenced Stephen Demetrius Johnson to the seven-year sentence for third degree robbery.

“This sentence sends a good message to Demopolis,” said District Attorney Greg Griggers. “If you attempt robbery, your going to find yourself in prison.”

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Johnson had tried to pepper-spray a female Sonic employee and make off with the deposit bag. Griggers said the girl and her boyfriend, who waiting in a car, drove Johnson away. Police were able to later arrest Johnson on the charges.

That action came during the Marengo County term of court this week. Cases were presented against 11 defendants in the county’s criminal docket call that began June 7.

In another case before the court this week, convicted murder Richard L. Hodges, 25,

received a 25-year sentence on a first-degree robbery charge. The sentence will run concurrently with the life-without-parole sentence for capital murder.

He was sentenced in May for the Sept. 2000 murder and robbery of Edward Phillips after a Marengo County jury found him guilty in a two-day trial.

Edwards testified that he shot Phillips, his 67 year-old next-door neighbor, twice in the chest after an argument erupted between the two men.

Griggers said another strong message was sent by the courts during the week’s process – this one to drug dealers.

Tommie Retic, 64, will be serving the next seven years in the state penitentiary after being sentenced for unlawful distribution of controlled substances. He must also pay a $3,000 fine.

“This was an example of an alarming trend we’re seeing where older people have engaged in the distribution of crack cocaine,” Griggers said. “It’s my belief that Mr. Retic, and the others, believed they would not be treated in the same manner as younger dealers.”

Griggers said Retic was arrested as the result of an undercover narcotics investigation.

“We’ve had three or four men in their ’60s and they really thought they’d get different treatment,” he said.

In other court action,

Cynthia A. Brown was convicted of assault second degree, and will be sentenced later this month. She remains free on bond.

William Eatmon Jr. was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution for receiving stolen property.

Tomeicka Hatter’s sentencing was continued after she was found guilty of forgery, third degree. Griggers said she has agreed to testify against a defendant in an upcoming trial.

Abraham Kimbrough received one and one day and a $4,100 fine for felony DUI. His sentenced was suspended, requiring him to serve 90 days and two years of supervised probation.

Johnny Ray Landrum was sentenced to one year and one day and ordered to pay a $4,100 fine for felony DUI. Landrum is currently in prison for burglary, and Griggers said he has requested to court add two years to his current sentence for the DUI.

The capital murder and burglary sentencing of Jeffery L. Napier. He pleaded guilty to six counts of capital murder in the deaths of Ida and Mikayla Little. He pleaded guilty to two counts of capital murder for considerations, two counts of capital murder during Burglary I, one count of capital murder of two or more people, and one count of capital murder of a child. As part of the plea agreement, Griggers said he would testify against Michael Landrum, also accused in the murder. The plea allowed Napier to escape the death penalty. He could face a maximum sentence of life without parole.

Michael Robinson was sentenced to seven years in the penitentiary and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine for unlawful distribution of controlled substances; and two years plus restitution and court fees for burglary, third degree.

Sentencing for William S. Poole Jr. was continued on a charge of first degree robbery. He obtained youthful offender status.