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January 17, 2014

Graham pleads guilty to first degree robbery

DUNCAN — The last of four men arrested after a string of convenience store robberies last year pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of first-degree robbery.

District Judge Joe Enos expressed reservations about the plea bargain’s terms, but accepted the deal prosecutors agreed to give to  Peyton Thad Graham, 20, of Duncan, and his attorney.

Graham will serve 15 years in prison for two counts of robbery, but Enos initially expressed concern about the arrangement, which he could have nixed.

He cited a previous felony on Graham’s record as the reason.

“The other co-defendants do not have a criminal history that can be used to enhance punishment,” Enos said. “Their history is not as significant. It sets him (Graham) apart from the other defendants.”

Less than three months before the three convenience store robberies, Graham received a probated prison term in Lincoln County for illegal possession  of pain killers.

District Attorney Jason Hicks, Assistant District Attorney Greg Steward and Josh Creekmore, Graham’s attorney, urged Enos to accept the plea bargain despite Graham’s rap sheet.

“The reason I’m comfortable with this recommendation is this particular client cooperated with law enforcement from the beginning,” Hicks told the judge. “ He was going to testify against Quincy Barnes. I believe we would not have been able to get a conviction without it. We approached the other co-defendants. They would not cooperate.”

On Wednesday, Barnes accepted a plea bargain deal identical to the one offered to Graham.

Graham  admitted participating  in two of the three armed robberies.

 He drove the getaway vehicle for the armed robbery of Stripes convenience store at 12th and Bois d’Arc and had a gun  during the robbery of Loves Country Store at Second and Main, he said during testimony.

Dakota John Smith was the only defendant among the four suspects who insisted on a jury trial.

A jury found him guilty of first-degree robbery and sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

Tre Demetrius Babineaux pleaded guilty and received 15 years prison confinement.

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