A Linthicum man who was trapped inside a gas station by the attendant he was trying to rob pleaded guilty yesterday to the crime and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
"It is still an act of violence, whether you changed your mind later," Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Clayton Greene Jr. told Jerome Charles Koppleman, 39, of the 800 block of Oregon Ave.
Admitting that "I know what I did was wrong," Koppleman pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery with a deadly weapon and use of a handgun in a violent crime. The judge imposed two 13-year sentences to be served concurrently. He suspended all but seven years on one charge and all but five years on the other and added five years of probation.
Prosecutors agreed to drop eight less serious charges. However, Koppleman, who has manslaughter and drug convictions, has violated his parole and may be required to serve additional time.
The late-night incident Feb. 5 at the Citgo station in the 700 block of Hammonds Ferry Road was captured on videotape.
"What you see is Mr. Koppleman frantically trying to get out of that store," said assistant public defender Nancy M. Cohen.
Wearing a ski mask and brandishing a .22-caliber gun, Koppleman walked into the gas station and demanded money from clerk Richard Hewitt, 38, of Brooklyn Park. Hewitt ran out and held the doors shut, trapping Koppleman inside. Koppleman pointed the gun at him, demanding to be freed. A police report indicated the gun jammed, but Cohen said that might not have been the case.
Koppleman tore off his ski mask and told the clerk he was kidding, he just wanted a soda. He laid change on the counter and ran out of a back door, said prosecutor Warren Davis.
Police arrested Koppleman as he tried to climb a fence. They found a loaded gun nearby with a round in the chamber and the hammer cocked.
Pub Date: 6/06/97