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Accused Speedway robber#039;s trial to begin Tuesday

The trial of a man accused of holding up the Park Avenue Speedway store earlier this year is scheduled for Tuesday in Lawrence County Municipal Court.

James Lawrence, Jr., 52, of 495 County Road 1A, Ironton, is facing a charge of aggravated robbery. He is accused of holding up the convenience store with an ice scraper in February.

Authorities said he got away with approximately $200. Lawrence was arrested March 4 by Portsmouth police after local authorities identified him from a store surveillance tape.

During a pretrial conference last month, Lawrence asked for a bench trial, meaning his fate is in the hands of Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown rather than a jury.

During a preliminary hearing in Ironton Municipal Court July 7, Lawrence's attorney, David Reid Dillon, sought to have the charge against his client dismissed or reduced, contending the charge did not fit the crime.

"It's pretty incredible saying an ice scraper is a deadly weapon," Dillon said. "He never used it to threaten or injure the lady at the convenience store."

But Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Bob Anderson said the charge should stick.

"The element of the charge is he displayed it, not that he threatened her with it," he said.