The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 1, 2013

Last of three in robbery case draws probation

The last of three defendants to be sentenced in the robbery of a pizza deliveryman in Joplin was assessed a suspended sentence Friday and five years on probation.

Circuit Judge David Mouton sentenced Keith D. Walton Jr., 31, to eight years in prison on a conviction for second-degree robbery, but suspended execution of the sentence and placed him on supervised probation instead for five years.

Walton had entered an Alford plea to the charge on Dec. 28 in a plea bargain with the Jasper County prosecutor’s office that limited the prison time that he might receive to no more than eight years. He could have received up to 15 years for the crime.

Walton and two other men robbed a Domino’s Pizza deliveryman on July 29 in the 1800 block of South Pearl Avenue. Caleb S. Baker, 20, who brandished a gun during the robbery was sent to prison for 10 years on a conviction for first-degree robbery. Shawn M. Simmons, 29, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree robbery and, like Walton, received a suspended sentence and five years on probation.

The defendants made off with six pizzas and about $30 in cash but were nabbed by police within minutes. Simmons and Walton told investigators that the robbery was a “spur-of-the-moment” crime, with Walton stating that he went along with it only because he was hungry.