Columbia man sentenced to prison for Van Buren pharmacy robbery

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

VAN BUREN, Mo. -- A Columbia, Mo., man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of a Van Buren pharmacy.

Tyler Ray Scott Hayward, 24, pleaded guilty to pharmacy robbery and was sentenced to prison by Presiding Circuit Judge David Evans, according to Carter County Circuit Clerk Cathy Duncan Terry.

A count of armed criminal action and a count of possession of a controlled substance reportedly were dismissed by Carter County Prosecuting Attorney Ernie Richardson.

The charges stem from a robbery, which was reported at about 2:15 p.m. Feb. 5 to the Carter County Sheriff's Department.

Hayward and Richard Dale Branson, 23, of Auxvasse allegedly displayed a knife and gun during the robbery, during which they stole OxyContin and Xanax.

In his probable-cause affidavit, Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Casey Jadwin said he was notified about the robbery and "was subsequently informed" Ellington police chief Stan Qualls had "conducted a felony stop and contacted two subjects," identified as Branson and Hayward, "leaving the general area in a vehicle that was consistent with the suspect vehicle … a dark blue (sport utility vehicle) …"

Branson and Hayward, according to Jadwin, were stopped in a dark blue Ford Explorer and held for questioning.

After Branson was told of his rights, he was interviewed by patrol trooper S.M. Dougherty, said Jadwin, a criminal investigator with Troop G's Division of Drug and Crime Control.

During that interview, Jadwin said, Branson "confessed that he and Hayward were the two subjects that robbed the Van Buren drug store.

"Branson confessed that he flourished a pellet gun and Hayward flourished a large hunting knife to threaten employees to give them OxyContin and Xanax."

Branson, according to earlier reports, allegedly put the gun to the head of an employee, while Hayward held the knife to another employee's throat.

Jadwin said he also interviewed Branson, who "confessed to me as being the person flourishing the weapon, resembling a handgun (pellet gun), and Hayward was flourishing a hunting knife during the robbery of the Van Buren drug store.

"Branson also confessed he and (Hayward) planned to sell the stolen drugs to obtain a large amount of cash money."

Jadwin said Branson gave officers permission to search his vehicle, a 2001 Ford Explorer.

"I seized a large pellet gun, mocking a long-barrel revolver, and a large hunting knife, both consistent with statements given by eye witnesses; clothing consistent with the description given to me by eye witnesses; 15 total bottles of Xanax and OxyContin, consistent with what was reported to be stolen from the Van Buren drug store; a misdemeanor amount of green plant material, believed to be marijuana, and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia (smoking devices and rolling papers)," Jadwin explained.

Pharmacy employees reported the drugs stolen during the robbery, "at their cost, were worth approximately $4,000," Jadwin said.

Branson also is charged with first-degree pharmacy robbery, armed criminal action and possession of a controlled substance.

No date is set for his case, which is being heard before Associate Circuit Judge Thomas David Swindle.

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