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

Published 5:44 pm Wednesday, September 29, 2021

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.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

email author More by Ben