Man who set up robbery gets 9 years in prison

Published 11:30 am Friday, December 19, 2014

A jury returned a guilty verdict last week for a Coal Grove man who set up the robbery on an Ironton bookie. The matter before the court Thursday was determining how much prison time Jason Adams would get for a conviction of first-degree complicity to aggravated robbery.

Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson recommended Adams be sentenced to 10 years in prison, just one year shy of the maximum penalty.

“The defendant is responsible for setting up this robbery,” Anderson said. “He is the one who dealt with the victim. … Without him, this robbery never takes place. … He lured the victim to two different locations in attempt to conceal the robbery.”

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Anderson also said Adams displayed no remorse for the crime.

Warren Morford, Adams’ attorney, said his client showed no remorse because he maintains his innocence.

“This is totally out of character,” Morford said of the crime. “He maintains his innocence and will always maintain his innocence.”

Morford added that Adams has no prior criminal record, is a father, veteran, former corrections officer and a trusted member of several Little League boards.

“There was no economic necessity for the alleged crime and there is no evidence he actively participated,” the lawyer said.

Morford asked the judge to consider a three-to-four year prison term with the possibility of a judicial release. For a conviction of aggravated robbery, a minimum prison sentence is required by law.

“This man is a family man. He is not a violent man,” he said. “… He is a victim of circumstance.”

Adams also spoke to the court before sentence was passed.

“I am deeply sorry that old man, Mr. Sam Jones, was assaulted that night,” Adams said. “I did try to help him that night.  … I was set up by a good friend that night. I’m very sorry, Mr. Sam Jones.”

Judge Charles Cooper said while a prison sentence was mandatory in Adams’ case, he was impressed by the man’s lack of criminal record and his military service.

“However, this was a very serious and violent crime and the jury believed the proof to be substantial,” Cooper said.

Cooper sentenced Adams to 9 years in prison.

Morford told the court Adams had retained his services for an appeal, which would likely be filed next week.

“I expected a lengthy sentence,” Morford said after the hearing, declining to comment additionally.

Adams was found guilty last week after a two-day trial in which the victim, Sam Jones, testified to being robbed in January in the parking lot of Central Christian Church after meeting Adams there to exchange money from a bet.

Scott Lewis, a co-defendant in the case, also testified during the trial and said the robbery was Adams’ idea.

Adams maintained his innocence throughout the trial, saying he had not planned a robbery with Lewis or the third co-defendant, Edward Hampton Jr., and that he too was robbed and assaulted.