POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A Poplar Bluff man suspected of being the gunman in the recent armed robberies of three convenience stores was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week after pleading guilty to lesser robbery charges.
Accompanied by his attorney, public defender Ted Liszewski, Steven James Ford, 25, pleaded guilty before Presiding Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett.
Ford entered his plea after Butler County assistant prosecuting attorney Paul Oesterreicher filed an amended information with the court charging him with two counts of second-degree robbery. The amended information accused Ford of stealing money from the Lake Road Junction Convenience Store on June 24 and Green Forest Grocery Store on June 28. Ford originally was charged with first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. He also had been accused of robbing the Village Express Store on July 1.
After accepting his plea, Pritchett sentenced Ford to 15 years in prison on each charge, the sentences to run concurrently.
"The state was pushing for the 15 years, and so we dropped one count and that was the plea bargain," Oesterreicher said.
Authorities believe Ford was the gunman, while his 29-year-old brother-in-law, Robie Arthur Rogers, was the getaway driver during the robberies.
Rogers also faces charges of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. He is to appear Oct. 9 before Pritchett for a plea or trial setting in his case.
Poplar Bluff, MO