Man sentenced to prison for role in armed robbery

A Merrill man has been sentenced to nine years prison for his part in the Dec. 12, 2009 armed robbery of the Merrill Holiday East gas station.

Maurice Bell, 23, was sentenced on charges of being party to the crime of armed robbery and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge Glenn Hartley sentenced Bell to nine years in prison, including 3 years of initial confinement followed by six years of extended supervision. On the marijuana charge, Bell received a 30-month concurrent prison sentence. He was also ordered to pay a yet-to-be determined portion of $2,868 restitution. He is to have no contact with the Holiday store or its employees, or his co-defendants.

On Dec. 12, two masked men entered the Holiday station on N. Center Ave., pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the clerk and demanded money. The men struck the cashier in the head with the butt of the gun and fled with cash and merchandise. Six people, four men and two women, were eventually charged in the incident.

Bell entered no contest pleas to both the armed robbery and marijuana possession charges in April. A pre-sentence investigation was conducted.

The charges again Bell were the result of an investigation conducted by the Merrill Police Department. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Lincoln County District Attorney Don Dunphy.

Plea hearings for the two Chicago men accused of actually carrying out the robbery, Adarius Wilson, 21, and Bryant Sims, 22, are scheduled for August. Cheri Stone, 27, and Dandre Barber, 26, both of Merrill, have entered no contest pleas and have sentencing hearings set for September.

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