The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

February 2, 2012

Man gets 30 years for robbing store

PALESTINE — A 48-year-old Palestine man accused of robbing a local convenience store more than a decade ago has been sentenced to serve 30 years in prison for the offense following a plea agreement between the state and defendant.

On Monday, Ricky Lynn Adams, 48, of Palestine was sentenced to 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice after pleading guilty to three charges, including aggravated robbery, in connection with the December 2001 holdup of a local convenience store.

Adams, who has lived in Palestine and Dallas in the past, pleaded guilty on Monday to the charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and felon in possession of a firearm before 349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher at the Anderson County Courthouse, according to Stanley Sokolowski, assistant district attorney for Anderson County.

Adams was sentenced to 30 years on each charge, but the sentences will be served concurrently.

In addition to pleading guilty to the three local charges, Adams also pleaded “true” to having been convicted of three previous offenses, including forgery in Dallas County in 1988; burglary of a habitation in Dallas County in 1989; and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in Anderson County in 1993.

Adams was represented by local defense attorney Dan Scarbrough.

Authorities have said Adams entered the Honey Stop convenience store in the 500 block of East Palestine Avenue shortly before 1 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2001 and asked to use the business’ restroom. The man, who was later found to be armed with a .25-caliber handgun, instead first threatened a female employee who was in an office area of the store, demanding money, according to authorities.

After the woman indicated she did not have any money, Adams then “struck her in the head with the handgun” before proceeding back into the store area where he was able to remove $233 cash from the register after threatening a second female employee, according to Sokolowski.

Adams then fled from the store on foot and was apprehended a short time later by former Palestine police officer Weldon Richards, according to the assistant district attorney.

Following his arrest, Adams, who was on parole at the time, was taken back to the store where he was positively identified by the two store employees and a Good Samaritan who had stopped to assist after seeing the suspect fleeing from the business, Sokolowski said.

All but $43 of the stolen money was recovered by authorities, he added.

Based on the new Anderson County offenses, Adams had his parole revoked and was held by the TDCJ from January 2002 through March 2007, according to Sokolowski.

At that point, Adams should have been remanded back into the custody of Anderson County authorities to face the three new charges, but “there was no hold placed on him” and he was released, the assistant district attorney indicated.

Approximately 10 years and two months after committing the crimes, Adams was finally brought to justice, according to Sokolowski.

“The ball was obviously dropped,” Sokolowski said without assigning blame. “A violent offender was walking the streets for several years.”

Primarily due to the passage of time, the assistant district attorney said the state had to track down the victim in the case who now resides in Arizona. Richards, the officer who captured Adams, also no longer works for the local police department, he added.

Sokolowski said the victim was pleased with Adams’ 30-year prison sentence.

Under state law, Adams must serve at least half -- or 15 years -- of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

Adams was given credit for almost six years served in prison between the time of his arrest on the charges and this week’s conviction, Sokolowski explained.

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Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com

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