Sonic robbers receive 20 years

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

Convicted felons Kinte Simmons, 22, and Charles Smith, Jr., 23, were each sentenced to 20 years imprisonment Tuesday for the armed robbery of Sonic Drive-In in Andalusia more than two years ago, according to Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Gambril.

Simmons and Smith were convicted last month, after an extended postponement of the trial.

According to previously published reports, the felons entered the restaurant on Jan. 4 of 2001 and demanded money from employees while holding them at gun point. Police officials and employees at the establishment reportedly had no injuries from the hold-up, but the felons were reported to have fled the drive-in with an undetermined amount of cash.

Although both suspects allegedly wore clothing to partially conceal their faces, including a silver bandanna and black cap, police positively identified the two men, according to reports.

A third suspect, a juvenile whose name was not released, was arrested that same year in connection with the robbery. The juvenile did not enter the building, according to a police spokesperson.

Gambril said that Judge Ashley McKathan split the sentence where the convicts could be paroled after three years, but after that alloted time, the two men will be on automatic probation regardless of parole.

"The (felons) will serve three years day-to-day without the (state) Department of Corrections giving them a chance of parole," Gambril said.

The DA's office was not satisfied with the sentencing, according to Gambril.

"Twenty years was the minumum sentencing with the deadly weapons enhancement, and the DA was hoping to receive a (more severe) sentence."

Gambril added the sentencing wasn't in the power of the department, and "McKathan is a fair judge that puts a lot of heart into (his) decisions."