A Kenner man who pleaded guilty last month to robbing a Kenner business was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Thursday (April 14).
Terrance C. Williams, 27, admitted that he went to the Chevron store at 181 West Airline Drive about 1 a.m., on Jan. 29, 2015, and demanded that the clerk give him cash from the register.
The clerk initially thought he was joking and turned away to stock merchandise, according to the Kenner Police Department. That’s when Williams brandished a small black pistol that was in his right pocket, police said. The clerk complied and handed over about $325 in cash, according to the arrest affidavit.
Williams then fled on a bicycle. About four hours later, Kenner police officers were patrolling the 500 block of Salvador Road when they saw Williams with a bicycle matching the robber’s. The clerk, who told police the robber had tattoos on his face, was driven to Salvador Road, where she identified him as the man who robbed her. Williams has numerous tattoos on his face.
He pleaded guilty on March 9 to charges of armed robbery and obscenity. The latter charge stems from an incident in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, where on Feb. 20, 2015 he exposed his genitals.
Yet on Thursday, when he was scheduled to be sentenced, Williams asked to withdraw his guilty plea. “I didn’t understand what I was signing at the time,” Williams told the judge of the plea form.
Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court, who accepted the plea last month, told Williams that by withdrawing the plea he potentially faced life in prison as a career offender if he went to trial and was convicted, given his past criminal convictions.
Judge Enright also noted the discussion he had with Williams during the guilty plea on March 9, as well as his signing the plea forms. “In this court’s estimation, Mr. Williams did understand” his guilty plea, Enright said.
Judge Enright declined to allow Williams to withdraw the plea. He the sentenced Williams to 35 years for the armed robbery and three years for the obscenity. The sentences were run concurrently.
Assistant District Attorney Angad Ghai prosecuted the case.