January 30, 2013

Augusta man to serve 2 years for Walmart pharmacy robbery

Jason L. Truman, 33, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court to the Nov. 26 robbery.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A city man has been sentenced to two years behind bars for robbing the pharmacy in the Walmart on Civic Center Drive two months ago.

Jason L. Truman, 33, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court to the Nov. 26 robbery. A judge imposed a sentence negotiated between the district attorney's office and Truman's defense attorney, Stephen Bourget.

The complete sentence was 10 years in prison, with all but two years suspended, and two years of probation. Truman also was ordered to pay up to $1,000 restitution.

Truman told police he discarded two of three bottles of OxyContin pills he was given as he fled on foot because they were more than he needed to make a deposit on his sister's apartment, according to police affidavits filed in court. He also told them he sold the pills to an Augusta man for $700 and used most of the money for the apartment deposit.

The two years of initial prison time for Truman stands in contrast to the possible penalty involved in another recent pharmacy robbery. Anthony Post, 19, of Lewiston, faces a 30-year maximum sentence if he is convicted in federal court of robbing a CVS pharmacy in Augusta last week. Post remains in federal custody.

In both cases, the notes demanding drugs contain threats of weapons, but none was seen. No one was harmed in either robbery.

Bourget said the sentence in Truman's case resulted from a lot of negotiation.

"We arrived (in court Tuesday morning) prepared to plead guilty and accept the offer, but the D.A. did not want that offer," Bourget said. "They had a higher offer. They consulted, realized the offer was made, and stuck by the previous offer. I have to give them credit for that."

Bourget said the deal was good for Truman. "Essentially, he had a clean record, and (the robbery) was a spur-of-the-moment idea he had," the defense attorney said.

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said it was difficult to make the decision to stick by the original sentence offer, which had been made prior to her taking office in earlier this month.

"I didn't feel I should change what the office had said. I know that the assistant district attorney handling the case contacted police to see if this was an acceptable offer, and they agreed. He has no priors, and he was very forthcoming," Maloney said.

Probation conditions ban Truman from contact with witnesses in the case and from being at any Walmart store.

Truman's guilty plea came after some initial confusion about the case. He had been in the same courtroom earlier that day when Justice Carl Bradford agreed to allow $20,000 worth of property to be posted as bail for Truman. His bail previously had been set at $10,000 cash.

"He went back to jail and there was some confusion in the D.A.'s office as to what the plea offer was," Bourget said Tuesday. "They stuck to their offer, and we had him brought back over."

Augusta has had so many pharmacy robberies over the past 12 months that Maloney has agreed to work with federal authorities in the robbery investigations and prosecutions.

The CVS robbery was the first to occur after that informal arrangement was in place.

According to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, there were a record-breaking 56 pharmacy robberies in Maine in 2012. Nine of them occurred in Augusta, the most of any municipality in Maine, police said.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631
badams@centralmaine.com

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