An 18-year-old man accused of beating and robbing a Tyler convenience store owner in January received a 35-year sentence Thursday after he pleaded guilty to a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Prosecutors dismissed the robbery charge against Jamon Nicholas Taylor after he made the plea in the Smith County 241st District Court. Prosecutor Jason Parrish explained that because he dismissed the robbery charge, he was barred by law from prosecuting Taylor on the robbery charge because it would violate the double jeopardy clause. Taylor had faced two to 20 years on the robbery charge, but because Taylor had faced from probation up to life in prison on the engaging in organized criminal activity charge, he pleaded on the engaging charge, Parrish said.
Taylor will be eligible for parole after about 8 1/2 years, Parrish said on Thursday. He faced up to life in prison on two charges — engaging in organized criminal activity and robbery.
Defense Attorney Hunter Brush represented Taylor.
Parrish said in court that the store owner and victim, Nazir Kazmi, was in agreement with the plea offer. Kazmi identified Taylor in his testimony on Wednesday as one of two men who beat him in January, while two other men, who entered his Conoco convenience store at the same time, ran behind the counter and robbed him of cigarettes.
The robbery took place Jan. 27 at the store at Van Highway and West Gentry Parkway.
Parrish said in his opening statements Wednesday that Taylor was alleged to belong to the North Side Crips, a street gang in Tyler.
The three other suspects identified in the robbery are Stephen Ray Sadler, 18; Michael Avory Hayles, 17; and Prince Kentrell Hull, 18. Their cases are pending.
Sadler was in jail on bonds totaling $805,000 on charges of robbery, evading arrest and engaging in organized criminal activity. Hayles, 18, was jailed on charges of robbery and engaging in organized criminal activity with bonds totaling $550,000. Hull, 19, was jailed on robbery and engaging in organized criminal activity charges with bonds totaling $550,000.
Updated Friday, July 27, 2012 at 11:46 a.m. CDT