A teen boy has been sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to shooting another teen in the parking lot of a Fairfield Twp. Walmart.
Now, a judge will decide if the case should stay in juvenile court.
John Robbins, now 17, entered a guilty plea to felonious assault with a gun specification last month in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a Jan. 20 incident in the Walmart parking lot on Princeton Road.
On Thursday, Judge Jennifer McElfresh sentenced Robbins to three years in prison for the gun specification and four years for felonious assault.
Robbins, a Colerain High School student, was arrested by Fairfield Twp. police three days after the incident. A charge of aggravated robbery was dismissed by prosecutors when Robbins entered the guilty plea. Fairfield Township Police accused Robbins of robbing a 17-year-old and shooting him in the middle of a drug deal in the store parking lot.
The case was moved to adult court in March by Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Craft after he found probable cause for the charges. Because of Robbins’ age and the seriousness of the aggravated robbery charge, it was a mandatory bind over to adult court.
But because that aggravated robbery charge has now been dismissed, the case will be returned to juvenile court, where Craft will decide if it should remain there or if Robbins will serve his adult sentence.
“We expect with good reason that it will stay in juvenile court,” defense attorney Eric Eckes said after his young client entered the guilty plea.
More than 40 letters of support for Robbins from friends, family and educators were submitted to McElfresh by the defense before sentencing.
The mandatory sentence in juvenile court would be two years in the Ohio Department of Youth Services, according to Eckes.
The 17-year-old victim was shot around 3 p.m. Jan. 20 while he was in the driver’s side of a car in the Walmart parking lot. The shot teen accelerated his vehicle and struck other vehicles and a shopping cart corral, according to police. He was treated and released from West Chester Hospital.