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15-year sentence in station robbery

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A Greenwood man who robbed a gas station was sentenced to a longer prison term because he cut the clerk with a knife, requiring stitches.

Ronald Pecina, 24, pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in prison under an agreement with the prosecutor.

The agreement carried a longer prison sentence because of how he attacked the clerk during the robbery of the Murphy Oil gas station next to Walmart in Greenwood, Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said. Typically robbers only display a weapon to scare a worker or homeowner into handing over money or items, he said.

When the clerk was returning to the shop after getting cigarette cartons from a storage room, Pecina grabbed her and shoved her inside the building toward the cash register, according to a police report.

He grabbed her hair and told her to remember her kids, while prodding her with the knife; and then he slashed her arm. He later told police he didn’t intend to cut her but had accidentally done it during the scuffle, the report said.

The clerk was taken to Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis, where she received 12 stitches to close the wound.

Pecina was a heroin user and robbed the station to get money to buy more drugs, Cooper said.

A typical sentence for robbery would be 10 years in prison, but Pecina’s sentence was increased because of the way he injured the clerk, his attorney Lee Money said. But the plea agreement allows Pecina to enter a drug rehabilitation program. If he completes the program, he could request the court shorten his sentence, Money said.

The longer sentence also serves as additional motivation for Pecina to complete the drug program, since it can help him shorten that time in prison, Money said.

Before getting mixed up in drugs, Pecina was well-behaved and an accomplished high school athlete at Whiteland Community High School. Pecina had one other minor incident on his record, Money said.

“Mr. Pecina was genuinely remorseful for the incident and the circumstances that brought him up to it. He seems to be a young man very capable of learning his lesson and avoiding that type of behavior,” Money said.

Pecina told police he robbed the station Aug. 18, 2012, because he was fed up with his life and needed the money to buy enough drugs to overdose and die, according to a police report.

He came to the gas station about 6 p.m. and talked with the clerk, telling her that he was waiting for a ride from a friend and used the phone at the station to make multiple calls, the police report said.

Pecina told police he only pretended to call people and was trying to build up the courage to rob the gas station.

At one point Pecina got cold and went inside Walmart, where he stole a sweatshirt and two knives, the report said. He went into the restroom and tried to commit suicide by cutting his wrist but stopped because of the pain, the report said. After that he returned to the station and robbed it about 10:30 p.m.

Police found both knives, which Pecina threw in the grass near the gas station after running away, the report said. A man who pulled up at the gas station during the robbery tried to chase him, but Pecina ran across Emerson Avenue and escaped with about $400 in cash, the report said.

Greenwood police were able to get security video of Pecina at Walmart that night, and the clerk picked his photo out of a police lineup, the report said.

As part of the sentence, Pecina was given 545 days credit for time he’s served in jail and ordered to pay $3,200 in restitution to the clerk he stabbed.

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