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Man receives 8-year sentence for store robbery

A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty yesterday to the armed robbery of a Randallstown grocery store last November and received an eight-year prison sentence.

Jermaine X. Miller of the 7300 block of Castlemoor Road, near Woodlawn, still faces trial in Anne Arundel County on four similar charges, prosecutors there said.

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In the Baltimore County case, Miller and co-defendant Phillip Christopher Hines, 23, of Pasadena entered Valu Food store in the 8700 block of Liberty Road about 7 a.m. last Nov. 19, according to the statement of facts by Assistant State's Attorney Michael G. DeHaven.

The two gunmen took more than $8,000, and one hit an employee with the butt of a gun.

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Circuit Judge Barbara Kerr Howe imposed a 15-year term on Miller for his guilty pleas to robbery with a deadly weapon and use of a handgun, suspending all but eight years.

About 20 family members and friends stood up in court to support Miller. They were "shocked beyond belief" when he was arrested as the result of "an unholy alliance" with bad companions, said defense attorney William H. Murphy Jr., who asked for no more than the mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

The crime was committed early to avoid endangering customers, Mr. Murphy said.

Asked to speak before sentencing, Miller stammered as he told the judge, "I'm sorry, you know, for what I done" and apologized to his parents. His mother told the judge he had two jobs, working in a fast food store, and working as a disc jockey.

"You are a very fortunate young man to have had the love and support of the family members and friends in court today," Judge Howe told him. "You have betrayed all of them, and particularly your mother and father."

But, she said, "I note that I did not hear one word of apology today regarding any of the victims."

Hines, the co-defendant, was arrested in January in Anne Arundel County after a bungled holdup at a Super Fresh store in Odenton, Mr. DeHaven said. A police officer shot Hines inside the store. Hines pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities.

Anne Arundel County prosecutors said Miller is charged in the Odenton robbery, the Dec. 19 robbery of a Severna Park Valu Food store and two holdups last November at Morrison's Cafeteria, outside Annapolis.


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