Man, 51, pleads guilty in robbery of wallet, jersey


YOUNGSTOWN — A suspect charged with robbing a man of his wallet and the No. 25 Reggie Bush NFL jersey he was wearing in September pleaded guilty Monday.

James Blackmon, 51, of East Florida Avenue, pleaded guilty as charged to aggravated robbery, but, in the plea agreement, Robert J. Andrews, assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, dropped a repeat violent offender specification and reduced the gun specification from three years to one year.

Blackmon’s plea came during jury selection for what would have been the start of his trial. Blackmon will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Wednesday by Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of common pleas court.

The victim was walking on West Rayen Avenue near Fifth Avenue when two men emerged from a vehicle — one of them drawing a gun and demanding the jersey and wallet. The victim complied, the robbers left, and the victim called police.

Based on a description of the vehicle, police found it and pursued it. The occupants abandoned it, and police arrested Blackmon, but they couldn’t find the other robber, who Andrews said had the gun.

Andrews said he agreed to the plea deal because Blackmon wasn’t the gunman and Blackmon cooperated with authorities. Andrews declined to elaborate on Blackmon’s cooperation.

Based on his plea, Blackmon faces four to 11 years in prison. As originally charged, he would have faced up to 23 years behind bars.

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