By Joe Gorman
Denzel Searcy told a judge sentencing him to seven years in prison for robbery that he did receive his high-school diploma.
It was mailed to him while he was an inmate at the Mahoning County jail.
The 19-year-old Searcy was sentenced Wednesday in common pleas court after pleading guilty to four counts of robbery for a series of robberies at ATMs in the county.
Searcy was to be sentenced last week, but he filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, and a hearing was set before Judge James C. Evans. He changed his mind again, however, and decided to withdraw that motion, so his sentencing hearing took place Wednesday.
Searcy pleaded guilty to robbing ATM customers at the bank at Belmont Avenue and Gypsy Lane on Dec. 15, 2012, Feb. 14 and 15, 2013; and at a bank in Campbell on Feb. 25, 2013.
Jennifer McLaughlin, an assistant county prosecutor, said the Mahoning robberies were part of a spree that also involved robberies in Trumbull County. Searcy is serving five years in prison for those robberies.
The plea agreement called for his sentence in Mahoning to run concurrent with the Trumbull sentence, with the extra two years added on.
Searcy apologized and said he learned the hard way how bad decisions can cost you.
“You have to make certain choices at certain times, and you have to live with the choices you make,” Searcy said.
Judge Evans had asked Searcy if he had graduated high school, and Searcy said he had but he did not attend graduation. Instead, he said his diploma was mailed to him at the jail.
J. Gerald Ingram, Searcy’s lawyer, said Searcy’s mother moved from New Castle, Pa., to Liberty to try to get away from a bad environment for her son. Her son, however, ended up associating with a bad crowd at his hew home.
Judge Evans told Searcy to take advantage of his time in prison and to make sure he comes out learning a lesson while also adding to his education.