Armed robber sent to slammer

Cary Ashby • Mar 1, 2013 at 8:54 PM

A Monroeville man who brandished a knife at a convenience store clerk and stole drugs from a relative was sentenced to four years in prison Wednesday.

Eugene A. Stallard, 32, pleaded guilty earlier in the same hearing to two felonies for separate incidents. He was convicted of aggravated robbery for a Dec. 18 incident at Mickey Mart in Norwalk.

Stallard also pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft of drugs for stealing drugs valued at $56 from a female relative. That crime happened 10 days before the robbery.

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler discussed Stallard's apparent inspiration for the armed robbery in court Wednesday.

"The defendant saw a movie and thought this was a good idea to get some money. He needed it for drugs," Leffler said.

"Back at the police station, he was very cooperative. He talked about his drug problem and the recent crimes he'd committed," the prosecutor added.

Stallard brandished a "a Rambo-style knife" at the clerk, but held the handle toward the victim.

"He told the clerk to lay on the ground or there was going to be trouble," Leffler said.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said his client was at a point in his life when things were spiralling out of control, but said Stallard's heart wasn't "into" the robbery since he pointed the blade away from the victim. He also said if the clerk had showed any kind of resistance or refused to give him any money, Stallard likely would have run away from the store.

"I'm sure he traumatized the clerk at some point, but there was no physical harm," Longo said.

"This was a man at war with himself," he added. "He did make the mistake of robbing someone he knew."

After getting about $200 from the clerk, Stallard fled the scene on foot, going westbound on League Street.

Norwalk Police Officer Zack O'Neil was in his cruiser when he saw Stallard, who matched the clerk's description of the robber, in a Baker Street driveway. The clerk reported Stallard wore all black.

The defendant, who stopped momentarily after O'Neil ordered him to do so, was arrested after a short foot pursuit when Stallard stumbled on the ground. The chase covered about 40 yards.

As Stallard ran, the knife, a black scarf, black zip-up coat, two blue latex gloves and a black backpack fell to the ground.

While O'Neil searched Stallard, the officer reported finding a "large wad" of money totaling $208 in the right front pocket of his pants.

"When he was apprehended, he confessed to absolutely everything," Longo said. "He was in a confessing mood."

One of the admissions Stallard made was about the theft of drugs, which Longo said police likely didn't even know had happened.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway sentenced Stallard to four years in prison for the armed robbery. That term will be served at the same time as a 17-month sentence for the theft of drugs.

The defendant must pay $56 in restitution to the theft victim. Stallard also could pay up to $2,500 for the theft of checks -- a charge the state declined to pursue as part of a plea deal.

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