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Man gets prison for store robbery



Published: Fri, January 14, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



YOUNGSTOWN -- A city man will serve eight years in prison for his role in the robbery of an East Side convenience store and the shooting of its owner.

Judge Jack Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Phillip J. Austin, 21, of Rosewood Avenue, on Tuesday to five years in prison on a charge of aggravated robbery and five years on a felonious assault charge.

The judge also sentenced him to a three-year term for using a firearm in the other charges.

The judge ruled the five-year prison terms would run concurrently and the firearm sentence would be added to bring the total prison time to eight years.

Gina Arnaut, an assistant county prosecutor, said Austin pleaded guilty to the charges in December. As part of a plea-bargain agreement, a third charge of attempted aggravated murder was dismissed.

What happened

Arnaut said Austin and others in March 2004 robbed the Big Apple Supermarket on McGuffey Road of cash and cigarettes and shot the store owner, Jihah Mahd, in the mouth. Mahd, 57, of Youngstown, survived.

The grand jury returned indictments last week against Ronald L. Robinson, 18, of Berkley Avenue; Isael Roman III, 17, of Rosewood Avenue; and Montrell D. Sims, 17, of South Truesdale Avenue, on charges of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping tied to the Big Apple robbery.

Those three are also accused of forcing a relative of Mahd's from the store. They are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in common pleas court before the end of this month.




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