Judge Wilford Carter on Wednesday sentenced a man to three years in prison after the defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery.
Chad Parker, 20, was originally charged with two counts of armed robbery, one count of armed robbery with a firearm and one count of motor vehicle theft.
Two other defendants, Antonio Hadnot, 20, and Louis Miles III, 23, face the same charges for their alleged involvement in the robbery, but have not yet gone to trial.
Parker waived his right to a jury trial and opted to let Carter decide his case in a bench trial, which began Tuesday. Before testimony resumed on Wednesday, Parker decided to accept a plea agreement.
Prosecutor Brent Hawkins amended one of the armed robbery charges to first-degree robbery and dismissed all the remaining counts. Armed robbery carries a sentencing range of 10-99 years in prison, and first-degree robbery carries a three-to-10 year range, Carter said.
Hawkins said that if the trial had continued, he would have proved that Parker and two others robbed an Opelousas Street barbershop on March 12, 2010, holding two people at gunpoint. The suspects stole about $160 and drove away in the victim’s truck.
Before Carter imposed the sentence, the victim addressed the court, asking that Parker be “prosecuted to the fullest extent.” The victim said he knew Parker, but that did not deprecate the seriousness of the offense.
Carter told Parker he believed the plea was “wise,” even though that case “wasn’t the strongest the state has.”
Sharon Wilson, counsel for Parker, said in her opening statement Tuesday that Hadnot confessed his involvement and that the victim identified Miles as one of the robbers. The third suspect’s face was covered, and the state would be unable to prove Parker was the masked assailant, she said.
Carter told Parker to consider the “generous” deal a chance to turn his life around. “You are real young, and you’ve got a real deal here,” Carter said. “You’re lucky — you’re more lucky than you think.”
The judge said he has seen defendants convicted on similar charges on much less evidence.
As a condition of the plea deal, Parker agreed to testify in the trials of the two other defendants. He must also pay his share, $59, of the amount stolen from the shop.
The other defendants took the stand in Parker’s trial on Tuesday, but only Miles testified. Hadnot opted not to testify, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Both Hadnot and Miles are scheduled to go to trial later this year.