One of four suspects tied to two brazen robberies, including at a South Hill McDonald’s restaurant, pleaded guilty Thursday in a deal that could net him three years in prison.
Dwayne J. Tolbert, 22, pleaded guilty to seven counts of robbery and had several similar charges dismissed as part of a plea in which both Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla and defense attorney Anna Nordtvedt agreed to recommend a three-year prison term.
“He’s a momma’s boy. If we do things wrong, we make it right,” said Tolbert’s mother, Sandra Roberson. “I think my son has learned his lesson.”
Tolbert was charged in the robberies along with 26-year-old Avery Loring, 24-year-old Michael D. Brown and a juvenile. All but Brown have had their cases resolved.
Loring was sentenced last month to about 11 years in prison.
Getaway driver Alexis A. Schell, 19, was sentenced this week to more than eight years in prison.
Loring and Tolbert were implicated in an armed robbery on May 31 last year at the Zip Trip at 2020 W. Francis Ave. that netted $14, cigarettes and cigars.
All four male suspects were also charged with the May 25 robbery at McDonald’s at 4647 S. Regal St. In that heist, four masked men brandishing guns robbed four employees and six customers of cash, phones and other valuables.
Roberson said she believes that her son, who has attended some college classes, came under the influence of Loring.
Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza is not required to follow the recommendation of 36 months for sentencing. A sentencing date was not immediately set.
“He really is a nice kid,” Nordtvedt, the defense lawyer, said of Tolbert.
“I think he’s … remorseful over what happened. I think he’s learned his lesson,” Nordtvedt said.