Suspect pleads guilty to 2008 robberies
by Rachel Davis
Aug 17, 2012 | 1849 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Edward Hickman
Edward Hickman
slideshow
District Attorney Bill Adair’s office secured two guilty pleas for 2008 robberies of Auto Zone and Check-N-Go locations. Edward Hickman, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree robbery in the robbery of the Auto Zone location and was sentenced to 25 years on Aug. 7.

Before the plea, Assistant District Attorney Brian Warren was preparing the case for trial and began noticing similarities in the case and a cold case that was still unsolved from the same time period. He and the Jasper Police Department officers who worked the cases, along with Captain Larry Cantrell and Detective Sgt. Danny Hyde, began re-examining the other case and the possibility of DNA evidence and additional witnesses.

“”I greatly appreciate the hard work of the two detectives and the Jasper Police Department,” Adair said. “I know how overloaded they are, and they went above and beyond the call of duty.”

In both cases, the suspect entered the business with a gun, wore a surgical mask and duct taped the employees of the store. Adair said the restraint of the victims was the most alarming thing for him, because taping up victims in this manner is exceptionally violent. That was also the reason that his office fought for the maximum conviction possible.

“When we have victims of violent crimes like this it is important to solve them,” Adair said.

Hickman was arrested on the Auto Zone robbery case in July of 2008, and JPD recovered some of the items used in the robbery at that time. Those items were used to recover some of the trace evidence that helped make this case.

“”He was using Town Creek to hide the mask and some of the other items,” Adair said.

The DA also said he appreciated the Department of Forensic Science, which was able to rush the DNA results on those items to assist his office in securing the warrants.

Armed with DNA results and witness testimony, the district attorney’s office charged Hickman with an additional first degree robbery count in the Check-N-Go robbery.

The second charges were filed as an Alford Plea, in which the defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but agrees that the prosecution could have sufficient evidence to convict.

In those cases, the DA’s office presents their case and the judge rules on the evidence. It is usually abbreviated and takes less time and resources than a trial.

Circuit Judge Hoyt Elliott found sufficient evidence existed to find Hickman guilty and, on Monday, sentenced him to another 25 year sentence for first-degree robbery, to run concurrently with the first sentence.