Two men charged with the armed robbery of the Casey’s General Store in Ellis each were sentenced to 36 months in prison Monday morning in Ellis County District Court.
Shannon Smith and Jessie Holland, both originally of Alabama, entered plea agreements earlier with the state.
The two were charged with robbing the convenience store in Ellis on Dec. 29, 2015. The two fled east on Interstate 70, eventually crashing near an entrance ramp to the interstate.
A manhunt ensued, and both later were apprehended by law enforcement. Areas of northwest Hays were on lockdown during portions of the search for the two.
Smith was the first to be sentenced. He has a prior criminal history and a warrant pending for robbery in Alabama.
District Judge Glenn Braun told Smith the sentencing could have been steeper given the defendant’s criminal history. Instead, Braun stuck with the plea agreement for 36 months.
“The court will honor the plea agreement so you and the co-defendant get the same decision,” the judge said.
Holland was sentenced to the same time period. He had three priors, all felonies.
It was noted Holland had apologized to the victim of the robbery previously.
Neither wished to address the court before the sentences were handed down.
• A man with a long criminal history was sentenced to 84 months in prison Monday morning.
Brett Rucas, whose criminal history indicated more than 20 priors, was sentenced to 78 months for distribution of methamphetamine and six months for unlawful possession of meth.
Upon serving his sentence, Rucas will be on post-release supervision for 36 months.
• A Hays man reached a plea agreement Monday, pleading no contest to two different counts.
Shawn Kennedy was charged with a lower level count of aggravated battery and domestic battery.
Kennedy was involved in an altercation Aug. 30, 2015, outside the Wild Rose when he broke another man’s nose in a fight.
Sentencing is set for June 6.
• Another Hays man waived arraignment and pleaded no contest to possession of marijuana involving a Nov. 21, 2015, incident.
Patrick Burrows was stopped while driving in Hays on a suspended license. Inside, officers found a cellophane wrapper that tested positive for marijuana. He had a prior conviction for possession of marijuana in Oklahoma.
Braun asked if the defendant understood the sentencing guidelines and structure.
“I don’t know how to read and I only have one eye, so, yes, reading it is hard,” Burrows said.
He is set to be sentenced July 11 on the felony possession of marijuana charge.
• Damian Gilcrease, Colorado Springs, was sentenced to 18 months community corrections probation for unlawful possession of heroin. He had no prior criminal history.
• Braun took a harsher approach to the sentencing of Barry Tonroy due to his history.
Tonroy had 12 prior convictions, including four charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He never had entered a drug or alcohol treatment program in the past.
“How does a guy with four DUI’s never go to treatment?” Braun asked. “Well, the court system failed miserably. … Better yet, the defendant failed miserably.”
The original plea deal was for 13 months for unlawful possession of marijuana, including time served. Tonroy had served time for previous arrests.
“That’s a failure of our penal system, but it’s not its fault,” Braun said about the lack of treatment sought. “There’s no money for it. That’s a little too much for this court to swallow.”
Braun sentenced Tonroy to 20 months, with 111 days credit.
• Richard Bachman, Hays, was given 12 months probation for a possession of marijuana charge. Bachman said he already had completed a drug treatment program.