By SCOTT WEISSER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — A New Paris man admitted his role in an Elkhart robbery Thursday.
Justin M. Kearney, 25, pleaded guilty in Elkhart Circuit Court to robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. The plea deal caps Kearney’s sentence to the Department of Correction at 10 years, with four years to be served on probation.
Under questioning by Deputy Prosecutor David Francisco, Kearney said he drove the vehicle used in the crime, which occurred June 15 at Neighborhood Convenience Store, 1712 Oakland Ave. Kearney indicated he didn’t enter the store but that Joshua L. Bagwell, 19, and Andrew M. Ormanovich, 21, both of Nappanee, did. Kearney also said he knew a robbery was going to take place.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, the convenience store owner told police that two white males entered the business and remained in the store while other customers left. The store owner said they approached the counter “when one of the suspects attacked him behind the counter and put him in a headlock, taking him to the ground while the other suspect looked for money,” the affidavit reads. The owner told police the robbers threatened to kill him.
The store owner told police he “gave up,” and the robbers let him up. The proprietor then grabbed a golf club and hit one of the robbers with it. The two males attacked him again, hitting him with their hands and then using the golf club against him.
According to the store owner, one of the assailants grabbed a box under the register containing $2,500 in cash. Both robbers then fled the store in a gray passenger car.
Police said the convenience store owner suffered neck and leg injuries and chest pain due to the attack.
Kearney, Ormanovich and Bagwell are incarcerated in the Elkhart County jail. Kayla Losee, 19, Nappanee was also arrested and charged in connection with the robbery; she was allegedly in the vehicle. Losee has been released on bond.
Kearney is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 10.