Teen robber sent to prison
William “Wade” Hammond, one of a group of local teen-agers accused of going on a crime spree late last summer and early fall, was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday.
The sentence was handed down by 9th Judicial District Judge J.E. DeVilbiss after only one witness was called to the stand. Greg Miller, manager of The Village Market grocery store in Snowmass Village, was robbed at gunpoint by Hammond and two others on Aug. 19.
Miller also was pistol-whipped by one of the robbers, though Hammond’s attorney insisted that his client was not the one who did it. He claimed the gun was carried by another defendant, Stefan Schutter, and that the beating was witnessed by yet another suspect, Moses Greengrass.
Schutter and Greengrass, both 18 years old, also face charges in connection with The Village Market robbery. Hammond previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery for his role in the heist.
Miller recounted how he had just locked the store up that night and was alone, counting out the day’s receipts and making up the bank deposit when he heard a noise and saw a hooded figure standing about five feet away, pointing a gun at him.
After being told to “get down,” he crouched low behind a counter and began handing over money from the safe. He said he was not even sure until he saw them running out of the store how many robbers there were, because any time he tried to raise his head, a robber yelled at him.
It was either as Miller was handing over the last of the cash or just afterward that he felt “something hard” come down on the top of his head. He recalled that he was hit several times after that, though he was not sure what was used to strike him. A gash in his head required six stitches, and he was bruised up and down one arm where he tried to protect himself.
“Wade has been a follower throughout this,” said attorney Richard Tegtmeier, portraying Hammond, 18, as a remorseful youth who cooperated with police because he wanted “to tell what happened … as a step in his rehabilitation.”
But Deputy District Attorney Lawson Wills painted a different picture.
Citing a “presentencing memorandum” submitted to the judge for the sentencing hearing, Wills said Hammond had recently been searched during a voluntary interview with police, and the search allegedly turned up nearly three grams of a drug known as ecstasy. He said Hammond admitted spending his share of the $11,000 Village Market take on “food, drugs and hotels” and at a strip joint in Denver.
Wills said Hammond knew details about one of two robberies at Aspen’s Stage 3 Theatres earlier this year, and that he had been in on plans to rob theaters in El Jebel, Telluride and Crested Butte, as well as the planning of an Aug. 5 robbery at Clark’s Market in Aspen. He recommended that Hammond serve five years in prison.
DeVilbiss, noting that Hammond was deeply involved in planning a number of crimes, said before passing sentence, “I think it’s fair to say you were involved in ongoing criminal conduct at that point.”
The judge noted somberly that a written statement from Hammond was “composed, thoughtful” and “more complete and more readable than 90 percent of the statements I see. You really are a young man that can apply himself and achieve something a whole lot more constructive” than a string of robberies.
The three-year sentence was recommended by the 9th Judicial District probation office.
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