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Stanley skips trial, takes decade in jail
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A Sparta man caught here during a botched robbery getaway has opted to forego trial for his part in a pharmacy heist and take a decade behind bars.
The defendant, Christopher Stanley, 35, was given a 10-year sentence after entering a guilty plea to the charge of aggravated robbery. He had been out on bond since shortly after his arrest.
He was present for much of the trial for his co-defendant who had been behind bars since the two were nabbed here in April 2012.
That co-defendant, Ricky Ashford, 34, was convicted by a White County jury this summer on armed robbery charges following a trial at the White County Justice Center. The trial featured several local lawmen who were instrumental in the chase and capture that brought the men to the justice. He is serving a six-year sentence.
The men walked into Sparta Discount Drug Store and robbed it at gunpoint in 2012. The robbers demanded, and were given, an undisclosed amount of cash, along with drugs.
They then fled the store, but in doing so a description of their vehicle was reported to White County authorities. The description was given out as an all-points bulletin and their car was spotted by Warren County Constable Junior Pennington near Rock Island.
Officers converged on the area and a chase ensued onto Shady Rest Road, which runs nearly parallel with Sparta Highway just outside McMinnville city limits. With officers closing in from both sides, the men abandoned their vehicle and took off on foot into a wooded area located between Shady Rest and Sparta Highway.
One of the suspects was captured shortly after the chase began, while the second was nabbed using a tracking dog which led officers to his hiding place. Money, drugs and a handgun were recovered at the time of their arrests.