ST. THOMAS – A young man who robbed
several patrons at gunpoint at Hooter’s restaurant will be spending the next
three years at the Bureau of Corrections.
Thomas, 33, who accepted a plea agreement from Attorney General Claude Earl
Walker was sentenced Monday by V.I. Superior Court Judge James Carroll III.
initially faced 28 charges – four counts of first-degree robbery, four counts of
using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a robbery, four counts of
second-degree robbery, four counts of first-degree assault, four counts of
using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a first-degree assault, four
counts of grand larceny and four counts of using a dangerous weapon during the
commission of a larceny – stemming from the May 2013 incident. He pleaded
guilty on July 26 to one count of first-degree robbery. In exchange, Attorney General Walker offered
to dismiss the remaining counts against Thomas and recommended five years’
incarceration with credit for the two years he has already served at the Bureau
of Corrections, a $1,000 fine and $4,400 in restitution to the victims. AG Walker also proposed that Thomas be
prohibited from going into the Hooter’s restaurant in the future and that he
has no contact with the victims.
sentencing hearing, Assistant Attorney General Eugene James Connor, Jr.
reiterated the terms of the plea deal and requested that the court uphold those
was a very serious incident,” Connor said. “Luckily no one got hurt.”
attorney, Michael A. Joseph, described his client as “an exceptionally bright
young man, an exceptionally skilled young man,” but that he got into the wrong
company after he was shot.
a kid who was doing extremely well and then got shot out of nowhere,” Joseph
said. “I think that changed him… and he felt he can hang with guys who can
prevent that vulnerability.”
arrested Thomas on May 5, 2013 after they responded to reports of a robbery in
progress at Hooter’s in Havensight. On
arrival at the scene, according to an affidavit prepared by Det. Nigel James,
police saw a gray Suzuki XL-7 leaving Buccanner Mall’s parking at a high rate
of speed. Det. James said he followed the vehicle, it struck a tree and some
barricades on the side of the road adjacent to Hooter’s, the driver fled from
the disabled vehicle and ran toward the area of Wendy’s in Mandela Circle.
officers chased after the suspect who was apprehended in the rear of Wendy’s
and taken into custody. He was later
identified as Marc Thomas, according to Det. James.
later interviewed the patrons, who stated that while they were at the
restaurant, four males wearing black clothing and black masks came into the restaurant,
pointed guns at their heads and ordered them to go to the back of the
restaurant, according to Det. James’ affidavit to support Thomas’ arrest. The suspects then took the patrons’ cell
phones, keys to a vehicle, money and jewelry, according to James.
employee who was also interviewed said she hid behind the chairs in front of
the bar, but one of the armed robbers found her and demanded from her the keys
for the Video Lottery Terminal machines.
She told him she did not have them; he then forced her to go to the back
office and ordered her to empty three drawers of money into a bag, according to
retrieved three cell phones from Thomas, which two victims later identified as
theirs. Thomas was subsequently arrested
and charged on suspicion of robbery, according to James’ affidavit.
sentencing hearing, Thomas apologized to his mother, his girlfriend and the
was a wrongdoing; I shouldn’t have been there and done that… The situation I’m
in has made me a better person. I hope
there’s a better future for me. I want to do positive things and be the kind of
person that I know myself to be,” he said.
mother, Roslyn Thomas, also offered apologies to the court and said, “I can see
he’s getting back on track.”
handed down his sentence – going along with the recommendations of the People –
Judge Carroll said he has to look at the situation in “a balanced fashion.”
to you, you are very smart, well-spoken and sounds like you have some good in
you,” Judge Carroll said. “Unfortunately, though, I have to look at the other
side of the situation. I hope this will
be a transformative situation for you.”
the sentencing, Thomas was immediately remanded into custody and escorted to