POMEROY — A Pomeroy man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the robbery of a Syracuse gas station and a residential burglary.
Derek Nichols, 27, pleaded guilty on Wednesday afternoon to second-degree felony charges of burglary and robbery in connection with the two incidents.
Nichols had been scheduled for trial on Thursday, with that date now vacated due to the plea.
Judge I. Carson Crow followed the sentencing recommendation set forth by Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Adkins and defense attorney Jenny Evans which called for Nichols to be sentenced to five years in prison on each charge to run consecutive to one another for a total prison sentence of 10 years.
According to previous Sentinel reports, on the evening of Jan. 27, Nichols entered the TNT Gas Station in Syracuse while holding a knife and demanded money. He then fled the area on foot.
While the suspect was reported to have worn gloves and a mask to conceal his identity, the suspect reportedly took off one of his gloves to remove cash from the drawer, which exposed a tattoo that the clerk observed. Video surveillance footage confirmed a tattoo on the suspect’s right hand.
Deputy Jeff Perry, being familiar with Nichols in a burglary investigation of the Dec. 30 incident he pleaded guilty to, went to Nichols residence on Jan. 28 and questioned Nichols about the robbery. According to the sheriff’s office, Nichols gave conflicting stories of his whereabouts during the time of the robbery and denied any knowledge of the robbery. Nichols consented to photos being taken of the tattoo on his right hand. Deputy Perry showed the clerk the photo and she confirmed that tattoo being the same tattoo as the suspect of the robbery. When Deputy Perry returned to speak with Nichols, Nichols had reportedly left in his father’s vehicle.
A warrant for Nichols’ arrest was issued for the unrelated burglary charge and he was arrested by the West Virginia State Police, Spencer Detachment, in the evening hours of Jan. 28.
Upon Nichols’ arrest, cash was seized from his person which was consistent with cash that would be in a cash drawer, according to the sheriff’s office. Nichols waived extradition to Ohio and was picked up by the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 8. Deputy Joe Barnhart interviewed Nichols about the armed robbery of the TNT Gas Station, where Nichols reportedly gave a full confession to committing the robbery, according to the sheriff’s office.
According to statements made in court on Wednesday by Nichols, he was on parole in West Virginia at the time of the offenses.
Evans stated that when Nichols was released on parole he came back into an environment of heroin. Evans stated that Nichols is remorseful for his actions.
In addition to the prison sentence, Nichols was ordered to pay restitution of $3,000 to the victim in the burglary case for items which were not recovered, along with $975 in restitution to the TNT gas station.
Reach Sarah Hawley at 740-992-2155 ext. 2555 or on Twitter @SarahHawleyNews
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