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A York County man was sentenced to 23 years in prison for his role in the robbery of the Star Express convenience store in Toano last December.
Judge Michael McGinty sentenced Nelson to 20 years in prison on the robbery charge with 15 years suspended, and three years on the use of a firearm charge with no time suspended. Nelson will serve eight years total.
Upon his release Nelson will remain on probation for 20 years.
Donte Devon Nelson was one of four suspects arrested in the case.
Nelson was the second person to be sentenced in relation to the case. Dominnic Lamar Christian was sentenced to 15 years with 11 years and six months suspended last month. Dijon Boyd is scheduled for trial on Nov. 20. Tysean Ransome had all charges against him dropped.
Nelson and Boyd were accused of entering the convenience store and holding two employees at gunpoint before robbing them and forcing them into a freezer, while Dominnic Christian and Tysean Ransome were accused of waiting outside in the getaway car.
When he appeared before the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court in June, Nelson pleaded not guilty to felony charges of robbery, abduction and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Nelson later accepted a plea deal that dropped the felony abduction charge in exchange for a guilty plea on the robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a felony charges.
Erica Woodley, Nelson’s mother, testified on his behalf at Wednesday’s hearing. She brought up his childhood diagnoses for ADHD and bipolar disorder, explaining to the court her son has been troubled but also shows the potential to be a good and responsible person when he is properly medicated.
McGinty was sympathetic to Woodley’s account of Nelson’s difficult childhood, but he could not ignore his juvenile criminal record, which includes shoplifting, assault and battery and destruction of property.