A Hays man charged in the robbery of a convenience store was bound over for trial Friday morning after entering a not guilty plea.
Jordan Stevens, 27, appeared in Ellis County District Court for a preliminary hearing on the charge of aggravated robbery from a Nov. 3 armed hold-up at Tiger Mart Convenience Store, 335 W. Eighth.
Stevens will request a 12-person jury trial, defense attorney Don Anderson said.
In testimony for the preliminary hearing, two witnesses for the prosecution identified Stevens as the man who entered Tiger Mart just before midnight on Nov. 3, brandished a handgun and demanded the cash.
Benjamin Moses, the clerk who was working that night, testified a man entered the store at 11:52 p.m. wearing jeans and a hooded jacket and stood in line at the counter.
When other customers left the store, the man pulled a gun and demanded the cash from the register and a cabinet under the counter where cash and change was kept, Moses said.
Moses said the hood of the man’s jacket did not cover his face, and he was able to identify Stevens, sitting in an orange jail jumpsuit at the defense table, as the man who robbed the store that night.
Hays Police Department Investigator Joshua Burkholder took the stand and described what he saw on the store’s surveillance video after being called to the scene shortly after the robbery was reported.
Burkholder said a white Nissan Maxima parked near the store and a person wearing jeans and a hoodie exited the passenger side, then entered the store.
He identified Stevens as the man in the surveillance video.
He described the robbery much as Moses had. He said the surveillance video then showed the man exit the store and get back into the Nissan, which drove away.
The Nissan later was located in an alley behind an apartment building in the 2700 block of Colonial. Stevens was located in an apartment in the building and was arrested. A search warrant was executed on the apartment at 4:04 a.m. Nov. 4. A gun matching the one used in the robbery, $1,086 in cash and clothes matching what the man in the surveillance video wore were found in the apartment.
Stevens was taken to the Law Enforcement Center, where Burkholder interviewed him, the investigator said.
Burkholder said Stevens told him he didn’t have anything to say, but the investigator continued to question him. In cross examination, Anderson asked Burkholder why he didn’t end the interview.
“He didn’t ask for counsel,” Burkholder said, and he had other questions to ask.
At one point, Burkholder said, Stevens told police, “I committed the crime,” and “She was only driving,” referring to Kelsie Replogle, who also was arrested following the robbery.
Replogle pleaded no contest to a charge of aggravated robbery on Feb. 2. She has not yet been sentenced.
Anderson also questioned Burkholder on police using stickers next to the store’s doors to help estimate the height of the man in the surveillance video.
Magistrate Judge Richard Flax ruled the witness testimony provided probable cause for the charges.
The trial date has yet to be scheduled. Stevens remains in the Ellis County Jail.