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Man sentenced to minimum of 89 months in prison for larceny, being a habitual felon

SALISBURY — A habitual felon will serve several years in prison following a trial this week in Rowan County Criminal Superior Court.

John Paul Blackwell Jr. was convicted of felony larceny and being a habitual felon, according to a news release from the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office. Judge Lori Hamilton sentenced Blackwell, 38, to a minimum of 89 months (7.41 years) in prison and a maximum of 119 months (9.91 years) in prison.

The conviction stemmed from an incident that occurred on Aug. 18, 2019, when Salisbury Police officers were dispatched to Circle K on E. Innes Street. A victim at the gas station said she was working behind the counter in the store when a tall man, later identified as Blackwell, stated he wanted to buy a piece of candy. Blackwell walked out of the store and returned with a note stating “give me all the money or else.”

Blackwell then reached into the cashier’s drawer, took the money and ran out of the store, a news release stated. The victim was able to give a description of the vehicle and license plate number that Blackwell left in. The victim was able to identify Blackwell from a photo line-up. Blackwell had previously been convicted of felony second-degree arson, felony conspiracy to commit armed robbery and felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell, deliver a schedule two controlled substance, among other convictions.

Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook said Blackwell could have received as little as 12-24 months in prison if he wasn’t prosecuted for being a habitual felon.

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