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Published: Tuesday, 2/10/2009

Man sentenced to 10 years for 7 holdups

Smiley Smiley

Jermaine Smiley appeared to have his life together, his attorney said Monday, which is why his actions between Aug. 27 and Sept. 15 made him an "unusual case."

Smiley, 23, of 3909 Airport Hwy., was sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to a total of 10 years in prison for the robberies of seven local businesses. Judge Gene Zmuda sentenced Smiley to two years in prison on each of the seven counts of robbery and ordered that five be served consecutively.

"You are in fact an enigma," Judge Zmuda told Smiley. "Because one would not have guessed or surmised when looking at your life and speaking with you that you would have been capable of these acts of violence."

Smiley entered an Alford plea Jan. 21 to seven counts of robbery. Seven alternate counts of aggravated robbery were dismissed yesterday. In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime, but pleads guilty because he decides it's in his best interest. The court treats it as a guilty plea.

Smiley was arrested in South Toledo on Sept. 16 after he was identified as a suspect in the robbery of a Dollar General store on North McCord Road. Authorities said he concealed his face with a towel and used a pellet gun to rob the stores. Smiley was convicted of robbing several businesses, dating to Aug. 27.

He apologized to the judge yesterday for the crimes he committed. He also apologized to his parents, the legal system, and "my community."

"I messed up," he said. " I just pray I can get a chance to put myself where I was before."

Attorney Thomas Tomczak told Judge Zmuda that the offenses were the first time Smiley had appeared in court for "anything serious." He said that the gun used, although likely looking real to the victims, was in fact a "toy gun."

As part of his sentence, Smiley was ordered to pay $1,015 in restitution to four of the stores who submitted losses to the court. Nearly $500 found on Smiley when he was arrested was ordered forfeited and will pay for portions of the restitution, Judge Zmuda said.

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