Two individuals involved in the robbery of Family Dollar stores in Pineville and Middlesboro pleaded guilty in Bell County Circuit Court on Friday.
Michael Paul North, 35, of Flat Lick, and Michelle Dawn Murphy, 37, of Cannon, pleaded guilty to robbery charges.
After originally being charged with first-degree robbery, North’s charges were amended to second-degree robbery for the two separate cases. Commonwealth’s Attorney Karen Greene Blondell recommended that North receive seven years and six months in the penitentiary on both robbery charges, which totals 15 years in the penitentiary.
After being charged with first-degree complicity to commit robbery, Murphy’s charges were amended to second-degree complicity to commit robbery for two separate cases. Blondell recommended a total of 10 years in the penitentiary.
The charges stem from two separate robbery attempts on two different Family Dollar stores. In January, Murphy and North attempted to rob the Family Dollar in Middlesboro.
According to the 911 call, the two fled from the scene in a white Chevrolet Malibu with no visible registration plates. Deputies Mike Cooper, Erik Saylor and special deputy Pat Brooks of the Bell County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call.
According to Bell County Sheriff Bruce Bennett, Cooper and Brooks located the vehicle traveling north bound on U.S. 25E near the Pineville Water Plant. Cooper conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle at Bell County High School.
Cooper, Saylor and Brooks then removed both occupants from the vehicle and searched the car.
During the search, deputies found a paintball mask, large knife and gloves that were used in the attempted robbery. The mask and knife matched the same type of items used in a robbery at the Pineville Family Dollar on Christmas Eve and robberies in Knox and Laurel counties.
Following the investigation, it was determined that Murphy and North were involved in the robbery of the Family Dollar in Pineville on Dec. 24, 2011.
In other court action:
• Andrew York, 24, was sentenced to five years in the penitentiary on the charge of second-degree complicity to commit robbery. If the sentence is probated, he will be placed on five years supervised probation;
• Demetrice Osborne, 28, was sentenced to 10 years total in the penitentiary on the charge of second-degree robbery. His sentence was increased to 15 years because he is a persistent felony offender;
• Bennie Joe Cavins, 27, was sentenced to five years in the penitentiary on the charge of theft by unlawful taking (parts from a car).
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.