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Print Page Consecutive Sentences Affirmed
by Ron Davis

A ruthless robber of shopping centers and other businesses in Ohio is now behind bars after avoiding apprehension much too long.

Here is just a quick glimpse of his rampage during the past two or three years; he was named in an eight-count indictment in Cuyahoga county, charging him with attempted murder, two counts to aggravated robbery, and single counts of aggravated robbery, plus single counts of felonious assault, improper handling of a firearm, discharging a firearm on or near a prohibited premises, and petty theft.

In no way does this cover all the many offences he committed. But he seemed to specialize in confronting the helpless as well as visitors to shopping areas.

He was eventually captured, and at trial he argued that it was wrong to impose a harsh sentence on him. That’s because, he said, he had not shot or harmed anyone during his robberies.

But on his crime sheet, just involving shopping centers, their tenants and similar retail establishments; At least two of the multiple offenses were committed as part of one or more courses of conduct, And the harm caused by two or more of the multiple offenses committed was so great or unusual, a judge commented that “no single prison term for any of the offenses committed as part of any of the courses of conduct adequately reflects the seriousness of the offenders conduct.”

The judge wasn’t through. He added, “The offender’s history of criminal conduct demonstrates that consecutive sentences are necessary to protect the public from future crime by the offender.”

As in other states, in Ohio there is the presumption that a prison sentence should be served concurrently unless the court makes a finding to justify consecutive service. In this case, at least two of the multiple offences occurred while the robber was awaiting trial or sentencing. The offender’s history of criminal conduct demonstrated to the court that, in this case, consecutive sentences are necessary to protect the public from future criminal acts.

On appeal, an appellate court agreed with the findings and opinions of the lower court. The judge explained, “We have two circumstances where firearms were used, one of them directly with the defendant in an armed robbery that took place in a public parking lot. People go to those places and expect to be safe there, not to be held up at gunpoint and robbed.

Agreeing with the need to remove the defendant from the possibility of any release from prison, the appellate judge stated, “In this case, I do believe that based upon the defendant’s action, three separate cases where firearms were utilized or brandished, individuals being robbed in shopping centers, I don’t believe that any punishment would be disproportionate, and I believe it’s necessary to protect and punish.

(State of Ohio v Willie McCoy, Slip Copy, 2016 WL 4141503, 2016, Ohio 5240)

Decision: September 2016
Published: September 2016

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