GREENVILLE – The second of four suspects involved in the Jan. 6 armed robbery at Walgreens in Greenville will spend the next six years in prison.
Ishmael Luster, 16, of Lima, entered a guilty plea to aggravated robbery with a gun specification on Tuesday – three hours after a jury was selected for his trial before Judge Jonathan P. Hein in Darke County Common Pleas Court.
Luster’s jury trial was set to run Tuesday through Friday of this week.
In March, Luster was bound over from juvenile court to face charges as an adult.
Following a lunch break on Tuesday, Luster’s attorney Michael Walton of Warren, and Darke County Assistant Prosecutor Deb Quigley informed Hein that Luster had chosen to accept a mutually agreed upon plea deal.
Hein accepted Luster’s plea and sentenced him to three years for the aggravated robbery charge and a three-year mandatory sentence for the gun specification.
Luster also will be required to serve five years of post-prison supervision following his release.
Several victims of the robbery were in court for the plea, but did not choose to make statements.
“I’m not disappointed he took a plea,” Quigley said. “It was the offer we originally made in the case. It’s just another stop in resolving this case.”
Quigley also told The Early Bird “we believe” the suspects “were part of a gang” although there was no concrete evidence to disclose in court.
The incident occurred just before 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, when three of the four male suspects entered Walgreens with the intention of stealing prescription drugs.
According to questioning by Quigley of one of the juveniles who appeared in court Friday, May 11, Luster and one other juvenile jumped the prescription counter at the back of the store he remained near the front to distract a Walgreens employee.
The fourth suspect and driver, Antwan Thompson, 18, of Indianapolis remained in the minivan during the robbery. Thompson was sentenced by Hein on May 10 to six years in prison for aggravated robbery with a gun specification.
The juvenile who appeared before Juvenile Court Judge Jason Aslinger on May 11, will be remanded to Allen County Juvenile authorities, who will take over his case.
During his questioning by Quigley on May 11, the Lima juvenile said after the three got back inside the minivan, which was waiting on Park Drive, they began pouring the prescription pills into another container, due to markers on the drug store containers.
At that point, he said, Thompson attempted to turn the van around in a driveway, but got stuck in the snow.
The juvenile also said Thompson was on his cell phone at the time with a person who told him to get out and run.
The juvenile said he chose not to run because he knew “there was no place to go.”
Greenville Police and Darke County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene, first detaining Thompson who ran from the van.
The other three suspects remained in the minivan for quite a while, the juvenile said, until officers opened the van door and found them inside.
All four suspects have been held at the West Central Juvenile Detention Center in Troy since Jan. 6.
Both the sheriff’s office and city police department provided increased security while court was in session for both Friday and Tuesday’s proceedings.
The fourth juvenile is set to appear in court next week.
PHOTO CAPTION: Ishmael Luster, 16, listens to his defense attorney Michael Walton after being sentenced to prison on Tuesday. (Susan Hartley photo)