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Driver of get-away car heading to prison

FARMINGTON — A man who drove the get-away car in a St. Francois County grocery store robbery and then robbed a convenience store in Washington County is heading to prison.

Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte sentenced Rocky Franklin, 26, of Potosi, July 18 to a total of 15 years in prison. Franklin pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of second-degree burglary and one count of first degree burglary.

During the sentencing hearing, excerpts of a letter from one of the victims was read. The victim said she now lives in constant fear. She said she keeps her gun with her wherever she goes because she can’t trust anyone.

There were a number of letters from family members and acquaintances of Franklin telling the judge that he is a good man. Franklin wrote a letter to the judge explaining the events of his life that lead to the robberies.

Franklin explained that he was injured in a vehicle accident and later became unemployed. He went on to say he began using drugs and spent several months in a homeless shelter.

At the end of the letter, Franklin said he wanted to tell the victims how truly sorry he is. He wrote the letter eight days before his sentencing.

According to court records, Franklin and Ricky Wells took turns robbing two stores. Wells was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for violating conditions of his probation but has not been sentenced in connection with the robberies.

According to police, Wells stole a purse from a woman in the Wal-Mart parking lot while Franklin took the money out of the purse and disposed of the purse.

The next day, the two men stopped at a grocery store in Mitchell. Wells, wearing a ski mask, reportedly approached a cashier and demanded money. The man showed a pistol and got away with a small amount of cash. The cashier was able to get a partial license plate number and a description of the vehicle she saw drive away from the store.

The suspects robbed another store, this time in Washington County, while authorities were searching for them. Franklin demanded money at the store in Irondale and displayed a gun.

The clerk told police she asked the man if he was joking. She said he told her to give him money or he would blow her head off.

Officers in Washington County pulled the suspects’ vehicle over and arrested the two men without incident. They had pocketed about $440 from the robberies.

The weapon used in the robberies resembled a pistol but turned out to be a BB gun. Authorities were able to locate the weapon at the bottom of a pond.

In another case, Michael Jackson, 21, of Pilot Knob, was sentenced to four years in prison for receiving stolen property. The sentence will run concurrent to any sentence he is serving.

In another case, Vincent Crader, 38, of Park Hills, was sentenced to five years in prison for possessing a controlled substance. The sentence will run consecutive to the other sentences he is serving. According to court records, a Desloge officer found Crader in possession of meth during a traffic stop.

In another case, Nathaniel Barron, 21, of Bonne Terre, received probation for distribution of a controlled substance after the judge suspended the imposition of a sentence. According to court records, Barron was caught stealing a prescription drug from a local pharmacy.

In another case, Telina Varner, 31, of Cadet, received probation for fraudulently attempting to obtain a controlled substance after the judge suspended the imposition of sentence.

According to court records, Varner altered a prescription from a doctor by adding the drug, Percocet. The person filling the prescription noticed that the amount was off and the name of the drug was misspelled.

In another case, Joel Hawkins, 20, of Bismarck, received probation for distribution of a controlled substance after the judge suspended the execution of a sentence. According to court records, a confidential informant told police about drug activity going on at a residence in Desloge. The informant said Hawkins had several pounds of marijuana. Officers found drugs, drug paraphernalia and stolen property.

In another case, Ricky Godat, 37, of Desloge, received probation for driving while intoxicated as a persistent offender after the judge suspended the execution of a sentence. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Several individuals received probation for failure to pay child support. Among them were John Favell, 29, of Bismarck, Carl Finder Jr., 29, of Potosi, Kelvin Gibson, 38, of Arcadia, Arthur McGee, 47, of Morse Mill, and James Ferrell, 44, of Park Hills.

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