Man pleads guilty in Columbia restaurant robbery

Elkridge resident second to enter plea in March holdup of Copeland's

November 07, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A 22-year-old Elkridge man pleaded guilty yesterday to four charges stemming from an early-morning robbery of Copeland's restaurant in Columbia.

Derris T. Moore's plea to charges of armed robbery, handgun use and two counts of felony assault follows a similar plea made last month by 24-year-old Nathan T. Hicks of Columbia in the case.

Prosecutors say they will recommend lengthy jail terms for both men - a cap of 21 years in jail for the robbery and assaults, and five years without parole for the handgun charge - at their sentencings.

Moore, of the 6500 block of Grainger Court, is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 16. Hicks' sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12. Hicks was a former employee of Copeland's, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say the two men walked into the restaurant March 1 as employees were closing.

One grabbed a worker by the neck, held a gun to her face and forced her to the office door. The two men took money and left, spilling $1 bills along the way, according to a statement of the case read into the record yesterday.

As they walked through the door, one robber also held a gun to a second employee and threatened to shoot him, prosecutors said.

The two men were arrested nearby after an officer saw them running on a bike path and police confronted them at a footbridge.

Authorities found more than $5,000 in the pockets of Hicks' jacket and a fully-loaded .22-caliber revolver under the footbridge, prosecutors said.

Hicks, of the 5400 block of Eliots Oak Road, has also pleaded guilty to a second armed robbery, at the Ellicott City Hampton Inn on Feb. 27. Prosecutors are asking for 10 years in prison in that case, which is also scheduled for sentencing Dec. 12.

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