Robbery charges upheld

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A juvenile and domestic relations court judge refused to reduce or drop charges against a man charged in two April video store robberies Tuesday.

Judge Alfreda Harris upheld six charges against James Eason, charged with two counts each of conspiracy and using a firearm in the commission of a felony and one count each of robbery and attempted robbery stemming from robberies at two local Movie Gallery stores April 6th and 7th.

Though a juvenile friend of Eason’s actually committed the acts, according to court testimony, Eason is equally liable if he knew what was to occur ahead of time. He allegedly drove the juvenile away from the scene of both robberies.

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A manager at the Gallery store on Portsmouth Boulevard remembered being confronted by the juvenile while he was putting away movies April 6.

&uot;A young man with a black hoodie and a bandanna came in,&uot; Bryant Harris said. &uot;I kind of looked at him. I was kind of stunned. He told me to hurry my fat (butt) up and get the money.&uot;

Harris said that the young man had reached into his pocket and pulled out, &uot;what appeared to me to be a 9-millimeter handgun.&uot;

He said that the robber got away with $56. After committing the act, the juvenile ran outside and jumped into a van that Eason was driving, and the two drove away.

The next day, Tamar Lee said that she’d gone to a Gallery shop on Towne Pointe Road to pick up a friend when the juvenile entered the store.

&uot;(My friend) had taken the money to the back,&uot; Lee said. &uot;He came in and asked (another employee) to empty out the register.&uot;

She continued that the robber had pointed a gun, later revealed to be a BB-gun, at the manager, who opened the registers to show that they were empty. The robber left empty-handed. Again he got into a van that Eason was driving.

Eason’s attorney, Dwayne Strothers, asked that the charges against his client be dropped, because testimony proved that Eason did not know that the juvenile was going to commit the robberies. Strothers said that Eason had been in a nearby Food Lion during the Portsmouth Boulevard robbery and was not involved in either incident.

The juvenile testified that he had spoken to Eason about both incidents before they occurred. Harris concluded that the evidence was sufficient to move forward with the case.

The juvenile and Eason face several other robbery charges in Chesapeake. The minor agreed to testify against Eason in exchange for being allowed to plead guilty in juvenile court, as opposed to being tried as an adult, to all of the charges. A court date was not known at press time.