Armed South New Berlin robber get five years in prison

NORWICH – The man who robbed a South New Berlin gas station in January pleaded guilty in Chenango County Supreme Court Wednesday and was sentenced to five years in state prison and five years post release supervision.

Joel L. Lewis, 22 of Oxford, initially pleaded guilty to first degree robbery in court, as part of his plea agreement with the Chenango County District Attorney’s Office, but had his charge reduced to second degree robbery after he told the court the gun used in the crime was not loaded.

After pleading guilty to the first degree charge before Supreme Court Justice Kevin M. Dowd, Acting Intern Prosecutor Meredith Birdsall asked a few follow up questions in court, one of them being, “Was the gun loaded at the time of the robbery?” Lewis immediately responded “No. No it wasn’t.”

A few moments after the plea was made, District Attorney Joseph McBride, who was also in the courtroom, raised concern that the first degree charge required that the weapon be loaded. After reviewing state law in court, Dowd reduced the charged to the second degree but kept the sentence the same.

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