PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Just as he was about to go to trial, a Pascagoula man decided to plead guilty Monday to four counts of Armed Robbery, Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon, and Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana).
Prosecutors say Randall Alan Williams, 36, and his co-defendant, Christopher Joiner, committed an armed robbery on January 6, 2015 in St. Martin. But they weren't arrested for that crime until 20 days later, after Pascagoula Police arrested the pair for a home invasion style robbery near Ingalls Avenue.
In that case, the homeowners said two white men armed with handguns forced their way inside the home. One held the residents at gunpoint, while the other moved around the home choosing items to steal. The men eventually left in a black Dodge pickup truck.
The victims were able to describe the truck to police, and officers later spotted it near 14th Street and Oldsmobile Highway. When the officers tried to make a traffic stop, the driver refused to stop.
At the intersection of Eagle Street and Albatross Avenue, both men jumped out of the truck and fled on foot. After a brief chase, both men were apprehended by K9 Rambo.
Upon his arrest, Williams was found to be in possession of a .380 Smith & Wesson firearm and marijuana. Williams was subsequently indicted as a habitual offender due to his 8 prior non-violent convictions.
Judge Harkey sentenced Williams as follows: As to the four counts of Armed Robbery, 40 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, 25 years to serve, day for day, the remainder on Post Release Supervision, $1000 fine on each count, and $100 to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund. As to the Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon, Williams was sentenced to serve the maximum penalty of 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, court costs, $1000 fine, and $100 to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund. As to the Possession of a Controlled Substance, he was sentenced to the maximum penalty of six years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, court costs, $1000 fine, $100 to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund, and lab fees. All charges will run concurrent with each other.
District Attorney Tony Lawrence stated, "Gangs and drugs are still a problem in South Mississippi. This defendant was admittedly involved in drugs and the investigation revealed that he was a recognized member of a dangerous street gang. His sentence of 25 years, day for day, I hope sends a message that enough is enough. Those who rob innocent citizens in this community so they can buy drugs will be held accountable for their crimes."
"I commend the Pascagoula Police Department and Jackson County Sheriff's Department for their thorough investigations of these serious and violent crimes. The work and communication between the departments helped to resolve these cases without having the victims relive the nightmare of these crimes at trial. I hope this 25 year day for day sentence ends this defendant's ability to commit more crimes in this community," said Cherie Wade, Assistant District Attorney.