Chicago man gets 15 years for Miller convenience store robbery
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent March 11, 2013 2:29PM
Updated: March 11, 2013 11:12PM
Lake Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray sentenced a 21-year-old Chicago man to 15 years in prison for a 2011 attempted robbery in the Miller section of Gary.
Reginald D. Binion admitted he and co-defendant Floyd Spencer tried to rob a convenience store co-owner Ahamad Ghouleh at gunpoint and demanded money while threatening to shoot him. The two men also held two other employees at gunpoint during the robbery attempt, which occurred Oct. 31, 2011, at the store at 440 N. Lake Street, Gary. Neither man wore a mask,. Ghouleh told police he recognized one of the men as a regular customer.
Defense attorney Roxanne Mendez Johnson argued for leniency, noting her client was shot during the incident and is a young man. She presented testimony from Binion’s aunt, Janice Murray, who had housed and cared for Binion and his siblings for years.
Mendez Johnson said her client was on the path to success. “He got in his own way and made some very stupid decisions,” she said in arguing for an eight-year sentence.
“On his path to success this defendant took a shortcut,” countered Deputy Prosecutor Aleksandra Dimitrijevic, noting that Binion and the victim were involved in a shootout and by the grace of God the victim wasn’t killed. She sought an 18-year sentence for Binion, a father of four.
Binion, who said he completed drug rehabilitation, apologized to the victim, his family and the court. “I want to do better. I think I’m changed,” he said.
Murray found that Binion’s prior criminal record, including aggravated robbery as a juvenile, as a major aggravating factor. “You’re a nightmare to law-abiding people who have to stop at these places to do business,” Murray said.
Binion faced 20 to 50 years on an attempted murder charge, which was dismissed.
Spencer, 23, of Gary, has pleaded not guilty. His next court date is March 20.