Craig man gets 3 years for robbery

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— A 20-year-old Craig man was slapped with a three-year prison sentence Friday for robbing a man of methamphetamine at gunpoint in February.

During his sentencing hearing, Apollo William Clark declined to address the court before District Judge James Garrecht sentenced him to three years in prison with two years of parole. Clark also was ordered to pay an undetermined amount of restitution to the man he struck in the head with a .357-caliber Magnum revolver during the robbery.

Clark pleaded guilty to felony menacing and robbery in July as part of a plea agreement reached with Deputy District Attorney Tammy Jenson. In exchange for the plea, charges of aggravated robbery and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance were dismissed.

Clark, along with four other Craig residents, was arrested in February on suspicion of entering a Steamboat Springs mobile home to purchase methamphetamine from the home's owner, Thomas Payne. Clark and 31-year-old David Kim Johnston were the only two to enter Payne's home, police said. The men reportedly offered Payne the .357-caliber Magnum revolver in exchange for 10 grams of meth. After Payne refused the deal, Clark and Johnston threatened him with the gun. They then struck another man who was at Payne's home in the head with the gun and took the 10 grams of meth.

The men were arrested in Hayden after officers stopped the car as the men were driving back to Craig.

On Friday, Clark's attorney, Ron Smith, told Garrecht he did not think Clark needed to serve prison time because he was not a criminal. Smith asked Garrecht to consider putting Clark on probation.

"Mr. Clark is only 20 years old. He has no prior felonies or history of criminality. Basically he has a very serious drug problem and got himself mixed up with Mr. Johnston and weapons," he said. "That's what happened that night."

Jenson disagreed.

"This is a very serious crime. This was an armed robbery where a loaded weapon was used," she said. "Nothing can change that."

Garrecht said Clark's poor behavior in Routt County Jail did not make him a good candidate for probation, and he said a three-year prison sentence was generous.

Garrecht gave Clark a 184-day credit for time served and told him to take advantage of the opportunities given him.

"You're still awfully young, Mr. Clark. You have a lot of life ahead of you. Right now you're going to get a sample of where you don't want to spend the rest of your life," Garrecht told him. "If this was a case of the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people, you need to start thinking about where you should be rather than where you shouldn't be."

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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