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Man gets 24-year sentence for robbery

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A Huntington man's third robbery conviction netted him a 24-year prison sentence Monday in Cabell Circuit Court.

Prosecutors contend Bryant Wilburn held a cashier at knifepoint and ran away with cash, but left behind a fingerprint that helped police link him to the Nov. 5, 2012, robbery. It happened at the Marathon, a convenience store and gasoline station located at 501 8th St.

Wilburn, 31, pleaded guilty and received his punishment Monday before Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred Ferguson. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss unrelated charges and forego pursuit of recidivist charges in exchange for Wilburn's guilty plea to first-degree robbery.

Assistant prosecutor Kellie Neal said Wilburn matched the description of a man who entered the store and roamed the aisles, before dropping bag of Jolly Rancher candies at the counter and demanding cash from the female clerk. He fled with $95 cash, Neal told the court.

Wilburn apologized to those involved and blamed the incident on drugs. The self-described heroin and crack cocaine addict recalled being intoxicated at the time and only remembered running from the store. Ferguson said drug use was no defense and sentenced him to prison.

"It's a choice we make," Wilburn told the court, agreeing drug use was not a viable excuse. "(Drugs) have ruined my life, and my family's life."

Ferguson referenced Wilburn's rap sheet, which includes two prior robbery convictions. He particularly mentioned a letter Wilburn wrote to a previous circuit judge in 2003 and urged the defendant to change his life. Wilburn must serve six years before gaining eligibility for parole consideration.

"You've got to do something with your life," Ferguson said. "God didn't put you on this Earth to be in and out of jail."

In an unrelated case last week, Ferguson ordered Cortland Wilmont to a 1- to 5-year prison sentence, according to court filings. The 23-year-old from Huntington had pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

A January 2012 indictment initially charged Wilmont with two counts possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and a single count of conspiracy.

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