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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sentences differ in pharmacy robberies

Use of knife likely to lengthen prison term for similar crime

Two Spokane pharmacy robbers who faced a judge Tuesday likely will get starkly different sentences.

The reason? One was armed, and the other wasn’t.

Lance W. Shaw, 27, was sentenced Tuesday to nine months in Spokane County Jail and a year probation after pleading guilty to an amended charge of second-degree robbery. He claimed to have a gun during the June 22 holdup but never displayed a weapon.

Jeremy M. Mace, 23, is facing a prison term of nearly three years, followed by 18 months of probation, after pleading guilty Tuesday to first-degree robbery. He’ll be sentenced in January. Mace threatened his victims with a knife during his robbery.

The back-to-back court hearings Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court demonstrated the difference in how courts view armed criminals even when the underlying crimes are similar.

Mace was arrested April 29 after a knife-point methadone robbery at a Rite Aid on North Division Street. A woman saw him running through the parking lot and followed him in her car as she called 911.

Shaw was arrested June 22 after he called 911 from a pay phone near the Walgreens at Division and Empire and said a man was holding a baby at gunpoint and demanding crack cocaine on East Mission Avenue. Police arrested him as he walked out of the pharmacy with OxyContin.

Though Shaw told clerks he had a gun, he never displayed a weapon, leading to his lesser charge. He’s to report to jail by Dec. 5.

Mace, whose pregnant girlfriend attended the hearing, will be sentenced in January.

Shaw had taken 100 milligrams of Prozac the night before the robbery, his lawyer said, more than his prescribed dose.

The father of a 3-year-old boy, Shaw told Judge Tari Eitzen he used to be a machinist and doesn’t think he’ll have a problem getting a job.

He’s going to addiction counseling and said his OxyContin addiction “started as casual use which quickly escalated.”

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