Columbia man convicted in armed robbery

October 22, 2004

A 29-year-old Columbia man was convicted by a Howard County jury yesterday for his role in the April armed robbery of the Columbia Hilton Inn on Twins Knolls Road.

Charles Cephas Williams of the 5300 block of Harpers Farm Road was convicted of armed robbery, second-degree assault and theft in the robbery of the hotel's night manager April 12.

Howard County police and prosecutors said that two masked gunmen jumped over the front desk of the Hilton Inn about 2:25 a.m. and demanded money. According to police, the pair took less than $200 in currency and nine dollars in quarters.

The night manager activated a silent alarm, police said. Minutes later, police Pfc. Chad Myers saw a white Ford Taurus station wagon turning onto eastbound Route 175. Police said Myers recognized the vehicle as belonging to Williams based on his knowledge of Williams' criminal record.

Williams and another man were stopped and detained.

A black-and-silver pellet gun and a copper-colored item that turned out to be a cigarette lighter were recovered, police said, as well as the nine dollars in quarters.

A jury of six men and five women returned guilty verdicts on all counts after deliberating less than three hours.

Howard County Circuit Judge James B. Dudley set a mid-November sentencing hearing for Charles Cephas Williams.

Phillip Adjei Williams, 26 (no relation), is scheduled to stand trial on similar charges later this year.

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