FARMINGTON — A man is now facing three life terms in prison after a jury found him guilty in cases involving an attempted robbery and a robbery at Hoosier Daddy’s liquor store in Desloge.
The five-man, seven-woman jury deliberated for an more than an hour before finding Mark Weedman, 45, of Farmington, guilty of first-degree robbery, armed criminal action, and attempted robbery.
He faces life in prison on each of the charges because he has previous felony convictions and was charged as a prior and persistent offender. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 7 before Circuit Court Judge Sandy Martinez.
Weedman still faces two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of armed criminal action in connection with a Desloge convenience store robbery and a Bonne Terre motel. Those cases were continued Wednesday and will be set for trial at a later date.
During the trial for the liquor store incidents, which wrapped up just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from three police officers, a store clerk and two people who lived nearby.
The prosecution alleged Weedman robbed the liquor store on April 18 and then came back on July 2 to rob it again but never got the chance.
Store clerk, Judy McCoy testified she focused on the robber’s eyes, the only unconcealed part of his body, when the man came in and demanded money right before closing time on April 18, 2006. She said he pointed a gun at her and threatened to shoot or kill her.
She said his face was concealed by a bandana and he wore a sock cap on his head. She said he wore a long-sleeve buttoned-up flannel shirt and gloves.
A motion hearing two weeks ago was the first time she’d been asked to identify Weedman as the robbery suspect.
During the trial, she testified she was 99.9 percent sure Weedman was the man who pointed a gun at her and took money from the register. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pat King asked Weedman to stand up from the table he was seated at and then asked McCoy if that changed her certainty. Wiping away tears, she said she was now 100 percent sure.
Jerrod Ragsdale, who lives nearby, testified he was leaving the store when he saw a suspicious man wearing a bandana and a sock cap walking toward the store. He said he called 911 as he was walking back to the store because he believed the man was going to rob the store. He said he then crouched down between an ice chest and the newspaper stand and peered in a window seeing the robber. He said he saw the man waving around a gun and then leave the store with a bag.
He said when the robber was leaving the store, he got a better look and was able to see a teardrop tattoo. While still on the phone with 911, he chased the robber two blocks. He told 911 the man was wearing a plaid shirt, a bandana and a sock cap.
Public Defender Courtney Harness questioned why the teardrop tattoo was not mentioned in any of the police reports or why there was no written statement from him in the police reports.
Harness also attacked the description McCoy gave to police. McCoy told police the robber was a “young boy,” 17-20 years old, 5 feet 4 to 5 feet si6x, 120-130 pounds, light-skinned, with small hands and blue eyes. She did not see any tattoos near his eye or on his neck.
Harness argued Weedman, who is now 45, wouldn’t have been mistaken as a 17-year-old. But McCoy told jurors all she could see of his body was his eyes. Harness also said Weedman has green eyes.
Chad Collins, who lives across the street from the liquor store, called 911 after seeing a suspicious man with a red bandana over his face walk up the alley and around the corner of the store on July 2.
He said the man scampered back when he saw the store owner outside the store, and the man climbed up a tree.
He said the man stayed in the tree until police pulled up in their patrol cars. He said the man then jumped or fell out of the tree and took off running from officers.
Desloge Officers Jim Nicholson and Sean Roney chased the man through yards and down the alley. Both testified they saw the man drop or throw items. They later found a knife, bandana, sock cap and tube socks.
The officers lost sight of the man along a privacy fence, but Officer Roney later found the man lying on the ground near a shed.
Roney arrested the man and took him back to the area of the liquor store. He said on the way back, he noticed a car that was idling in the alley. He said Weedman said it was his girlfriend’s car.
Weedman told police that he went to the liquor store to get cigarettes and was robbed by someone with a hatchet. He told them he asked another person to call 911 and he was waiting for the robber to come back. He did not say why he took off running from police.
One officer noted the man smelled of alcohol. They did not find a gun on him but did find another bandana.
Ragsdale said he saw the police cars and walked over to the store to find out what was going on.
Ragsdale said Roney asked him to look at the suspect, who was then in the back of the patrol vehicle. He said officers shined a flashlight on him and he immediately identified him as the robber by his tattoo on his eye and his shirt.
However, Harness questioned again why the tattoo was never mentioned in any of the police reports. While Ragsdale thought Weedman was wearing the same flannel shirt as the night of the robbery, Harness said Weedman was wearing a black T-shirt.
Roney testified he did not ask Ragsdale to identify the suspect but then-Officer Brandon Scherffius said he did.
Harness asked police why no one put in their report that Ragsdale identified Weedman by his eyedrop tattoo. She also asked what happened to the written statement Ragsdale said he filled out on April 18.
Jurors watched the surveillance video from the April 18 robbery and listened to the 911 call made by Ragsdale.
During closing arguments, Harness said this was a case of misidentification.
She said there was a robbery on April 18 but Weedman was not there and did not do it, pointing out the robber had blue eyes and was young.
She said she can’t believe that Desloge has such a “horrible police force” that they wouldn’t write down that Ragsdale said the suspect had a tattoo on his eye.
Harness argued there were discrepancies in statements made by Ragsdale and McCoy regarding their descriptions and whether an elderly customer entered the store before or during the robbery.
She said the incident on July 2 may have been a little odd and suspicious but there is not enough “to say he was going to rob the store.” She said she doesn’t know why Weedman was at the store.
She said Ragsdale identified Weedman as the man who robbed the store because he wanted to help police. She said Ragsdale was certain of a lot of things that weren’t accurate such as the shirt Weedman was wearing.
She said McCoy wants Weedman to be the robber so her nightmares will go away. She said the woman wants someone to pay for what happened.
“Consider the evidence … look at how easy it would have been to misidentify Mark Weedman as the robber,” she said.
After Harness finished, King told jurors to consider McCoy, Ragsdale and Collins were regular people with extraordinary courage and a desire to see justice done.
King said it takes guts for people to testify. He said unless you’ve done it, you don’t understand how difficult it is. He added McCoy was the only person in the room who knew what it was like to be robbed.
“(The witnesses) are to be commended,” he said.