BY KEITH EPPS

A young man involved in a robbery last year in which he pepper-sprayed three women and took another one’s car was has been ordered to serve nearly 12 years in prison.

Daywand D. Johnson, 18, was sentenced in Fredericksburg Circuit Court Thursday to 42 years in prison with all but 11 years and nine months suspended. He had previously pleaded guilty to nine charges, including robbery, carjacking and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Johnson was 17 when he and two other young men entered the Sheetz on Fall Hill Avenue in the city at 5:50 a.m. Aug. 27 wearing masks and dressed in all black. They had stolen BB guns from the Walmart in Central Park a short time earlier.

According to prosecutor Travis Bird, two clerks and a customer were pepper-sprayed even though they complied with the robbers’ demands. The customer had a gun placed to her head and was forced to the floor. The suspects fled with purses, cigarettes and money from the store.

While fleeing the scene, Bird said, Johnson ran up to a car in the parking lot and pointed his gun at the driver. He got in the car and drove to the nearby Riverside Manor, where he lived. DNA tests showed that blood left in the car belonged to Johnson.

Johnson and a boy who was 15 at the time were identified as suspects and both confessed when confronted by police. Daniel Farmer, now 16, was tried as an adult but is serving his sentence in a juvenile facility, Bird said.

The third suspect was never identified. Johnson and Farmer told police they knew him only by a street name and were unable to help police locate him.

During Johnson’s sentencing Thursday, defense attorney Charles Cosby referred to a Buddhist saying while claiming that Johnson’s actions were more attributable to ignorance, not evil.

Bird replied, “the Buddhist who said that never had a gun put to their head by Mr. Johnson and then pepper sprayed afterward.”

Johnson was also convicted Friday in Stafford Circuit Court of assault on a law enforcement officer. That charge stemmed from an incident involving a correctional officer at the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center following his arrest in the city. He will be sentenced on that charge Nov. 7, according to court records.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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