Boardman man gets 10 years for 4 robberies

The robberies were desperate acts of a drug addict, the defense lawyer says.

YOUNGSTOWN — A Boardman man who pleaded guilty to four store robberies has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by five years’ parole.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum, of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, imposed the sentence Tuesday on Eric G. Lawson, 27, of Turnberry Drive.

Lawson’s two-week crime spree began when he robbed the Family Dollar store on South Avenue on Nov. 17.

That was the very day he left a Community Corrections Association halfway house, where he had resided after being paroled after a prison term for two prior robberies, said J. Michael Thompson, assistant county prosecutor.

Lawson then robbed the Walgreen’s Pharmacy on South Avenue and Midlothian Boulevard on Nov. 21; the Subway sandwich shop at 830 E. Midlothian Blvd., where he threatened to shoot an employee on Nov. 25; and the same Family Dollar again on Nov. 29.

“I made the dumbest mistakes I could ever imagine,” Lawson told the judge, adding that he is remorseful.

Noting that nobody was physically hurt and no weapon was used, Thompson recommended an eight-year prison term.

But Lawson’s lawyer, Thomas Zena, asked the judge to consider a six-year prison term.

Zena termed the robberies unplanned acts of “complete desperation” by a drug abuser.

“I could care less about his drug problem. If anything, that makes what he did a whole lot worse,” Judge Krichbaum said.

Before imposing the sentence, the judge noted Lawson’s extensive criminal history and his lack of success in changing his life in prison, on parole and in drug rehabilitation.

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