Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for two armed robberies

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Jerry Lee Smith
Jerry Lee Smith

A Pender County man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to two armed robberies in Wilmington, including the robbery of truck driver at a local gas station.

Jerry Lee Smith, 35, of Burgaw, pleaded guilty Friday in New Hanover County Superior Court to two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and habitual felon, according to a news release from District Attorney Ben David.

A man was robbed while walking home from work on South Third Street at about 1:30 a.m., Jan. 7. The suspect took the victim’s cell phone and wallet at gunpoint.

About 30 minutes later, another victim was reportedly robbed at a truck stop off U.S. 421 near downtown Wilmington while filling up his tractor trailer with gas, David said. The armed suspect took the victim’s wallet and money clip.

“Both victims reported that the suspect got out of a white older model four-door vehicle,” David said.

Wilmington police stopped a vehicle matching the description at 10th and Dock streets. Smith was arrested along with other suspects in the vehicle.

“Smith was searched and the money clip was found in his possession,” David said. “Officers found the gun used in the robbery, which was previously reported stolen out of another county, in the glove compartment of the car.”

The first victim’s cell phone was found in the possession of a co-defendant in the case — 21-year-old Richard Sloan — who pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to robbery with a dangerous weapon earlier this year, David said. A passenger in the car — 23-year-old Jasmine Glaspie — was also charged and pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to robbery with a dangerous weapon.

During the plea, Smith apologized to the victims of his crimes, noting that he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the robberies, David said.

“Thanks to the quick response of the Wilmington Police Department, the follow-up investigation conducted by the New Hanover Sheriff’s Department, and the cooperation of the victims in this case, this violent offender will spend the next 15 years in prison,” David said.

Smith was sentenced to a minimum of 180 and a maximum of 228 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections.