Man pleads guilty to robbery, theft

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gregory James Goldsmith, 36, of Elba, on Monday pleaded guilty to robbery I and theft of property II, for his involvement in a 2014 armed robbery of two Cost Plus employees.

The case was set for trial Monday, and a plea agreement was reached after District Attorney Walt Merrell and defense attorney William Alverson struck a jury.

Alverson said the parties had been in plea negotiations for more than a week, and resumed negotiations after the jury was seated.

Goldsmith’s plea agreement gave him a 20-year sentence on the robbery charge, with a five-year split, and a 15-year sentence, with a two-year split, for the second degree theft charge. He also received credit for the almost two years he has already served. The sentence means he will be released in 2021, and then will be on probation.

Merrell said, “Any time you put a gun in someone’s face and make demands, that is a very dangerous situation. Goldsmith was a dangerous man and he needed to be sent to prison.”

The Andalusia Police Department arrested Goldsmith on Jan. 13, 2014, and charged him with robbing two women attempting to make the daily deposit for their employer, Cost Plus of Andalusia. Goldsmith, with gun in hand, allegedly confronted the two women just outside Covington County Bank. He demanded “money” and after the victims gave him the deposit bag, Goldsmith fled on foot. According to court documents, at that moment, two off-duty Andalusia police dispatchers pulled into the parking lot to deposit their paychecks. The victims alerted the dispatchers and the two men pursued Goldsmith. Goldsmith ran to a nearby house where police arrested him. The deposit bag was recovered from the roof of the house.

Potential jurors was told during jury selection that no gun was recovered in the case.

Circuit Judge Lex Short presided in the case.

Goldsmith was remanded to the custody of the Department of Corrections to begin serving his sentence.