Teen acquitted in robbery

Published 8:59 pm Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Suffolk teen was acquitted of multiple felony charges after a two-day jury trial in Suffolk Circuit Court last week.

Tony Douglas Powell Jr. was charged in a Sept. 14 robbery at the Family Dollar at 815 W. Constance Road. But during the trial on Wednesday and Thursday last week, some of the charges were dismissed. He was acquitted on the rest.

Powell, who was 17 at the time of the offense, was prosecuted on charges of attempted murder, attempted malicious wounding, robbery of a business, statutory burglary, possession of a firearm by a minor and three counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

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According to court documents, two robbers came into the store about 8:30 p.m. that night. One of them had a gun and demanded money from the employee. The robbers received money from both registers and fired two shots at the female employee before fleeing.

The case against Powell was originally made by his mother identifying him. But in a statement recorded in court documents, she denied it was him, suggesting perhaps he had given the clothes she thought she recognized to someone else.

“My son got this habit of giving his clothes away,” she said before adding several times, “I’m pleading the Fifth Amendment.”

The court documents also record a notice of alibi in which Powell’s defense attorney, Ronilee Gomez, advised she planned to present evidence that Powell was in Portsmouth at the time of the robbery.