Man Gets 10 Years For South County Armed Robbery Spree

Defense Attorney Says Bell Was In A 'Complete Stupor' During Crimes

January 19, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

A 23-year-old Howard County man who went on a 15-minute armed robbery spree in South Carroll last May was sentenced last week to 10 yearsin jail.

Wayne Edward Bell of West Friendship was convicted of armed robbery, assault with intent to murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony and sentenced to 45 years, with all but 10 years suspended under terms of an agreement reached with the State's Attorney's Office in October.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. agreed to accept the deal Thursday, as defense attorney Judson K. Larrimore described Bell as a 10th-grade dropout and drug and alcohol addict who was in a "complete stupor" when he held up three gas stations near Sykesville with a 9mm handgun May 27 and stole about $480 in cash.

The agreement called for Bell to accept the police statement of facts in the case.

Bell drove a 1973 Mercury into the Gillis Corner Amoco Station on Sandusky Road in Sykesville about 2:30 a.m., pointed the silver semiautomatic atthe station's attendant and ordered him to hand over his money, according to testimony Thursday.

After the attendant handed over $225 in cash, Bell told him to wait 15 minutes before calling police. He also told him to tell the police that he was robbed by an African-American and then gave the attendant a false license plate number to use.

About five minutes later, Bell pulled into the Mobil Gas Station at 1400 Liberty Road in Sykesville and pumped more than $12 worth of gasoline into the car. He then went into the store and brandished thesame gun.

The attendant backed away from the cash register, and Bell took about $255, testimony showed. He also disabled the store's telephone.

From there, Bell drove to Crown Gas at routes 26 and 32,where he pumped about $1 worth of gas into the Mercury, then approached the attendant.

When the attendant saw the gun, he ran into a back office. Bell fired at him through a small hole in the bullet-proof glass of the attendant's booth, but the attendant was not hurt.

Bell was found about an hour later and attacked by Baltimore County K-9 unit dogs as he fled from his car into a wooded area.

Bell was taken to the Carroll County Detention Center, with bond set at $200,000. He has remained at the Detention Center since May 27.

"This isa terrible tragedy, what happened in about 10 minutes that night," Larrimore told the judge.

"(Bell) has no recollection of the night,except when he was in Sykesville, where he drank a lot at a bar," Larrimore said. "And then being bitten by police dogs."

Larrimore said Bell had spent the last seven months in an addictions treatment program, even though the "possibility of 10 years in the Department of Corrections was quite real" for Bell.

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