By MARY RAINWATER
A Palestine man was sentenced to 25 years and fined $7,500 by an Anderson County jury this week for the shooting of a local man during a convenience store robbery in 2012.
Jhamerrick Milton, 19, was the third person arrested in connection with the Aug. 19, 2012 early morning robbery of Mr. D’s convenience store at 3209 W. Oak St. during which a 62-year-old store clerk was shot in the face with a .22-caliber rifle.
Within days of the incident, John Nicholas Hicks and Anthony Robert Mrdjenovich, both 17 and students at Westwood High School at the time, were arrested and charged in connection with the robbery.
“Milton went into the store with a gun and Hicks helped plan the robbery,” Anderson County Assistant District Attorney Scott Holden told the Herald-Press Friday. “Mrdjenovich also helped plan the robbery and provided the car, weapon and military uniform used in the crime.”
Holden explained that Mrdjenovich had dropped Milton off at the back of the store, as witnessed by a newspaper carrier from the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
“When approached by Milton, the clerk told him that he was not getting any money and he needed to get out,” Holden said. “That is when Milton shot him.”
Police had been seeking Milton for a month prior to his arrest in September 2012, when he turned himself in at the Anderson County Jail.
Milton plead guilty to the aggravated charge, leaving only the two-day sentencing trial that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday in the courtroom of Texas 3rd District Judge Mark Calhoon.
Milton was represented by Athens attorney Paul Guillotte, with Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe and Holden representing the state.
Testifying for the state was Palestine Police Department Criminal Investigation Division officer Sgt. James Muniz and another witness who testified about the military uniform worn by Milton during the robbery. Members of the victim’s family also testified.
“Muniz went over the investigative process used in solving the case, tips gathered and the vehicle used in the crime,” Holden said. “The military uniform (according to the witness) was a 1996-issue.”
According to Holden, Milton must serve at least 12 1/2 years of his sentence before being eligible for parole. He has been credited one year of time served.
“Twenty-five years is nothing to sneeze at,” Holden said. “(Milton) was 19-years-old when he committed the offense. If he learns his lesson and makes an effort to rehabilitate himself, then he can still have a life when he gets out.”
The store clerk, Fred Robinson, was hospitalized for several days at a Tyler hospital following the shooting, and was later discharged. Robinson died Feb. 4 from continuing deterioration of his health following the shooting.
When shot, Robinson also injured his back and went from the use of a cane to a walker to a wheelchair, according to Holden.
The other two suspects in the case both served some jail time and are currently on probation, Holden said.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org