Published January 06. 2014 4:00PM Updated January 06. 2014 4:13PM
A 41-year-old Norwich man who pleaded guilty in the midst of his October trial was sentenced today in New London Superior Court to 8½ years in prison for robbing a Norwich convenience store.
After his time in prison, he will serve eight years of special parole for first-degree robbery.
According to testimony at the trial, Rodney Hagins entered the Best Mart convenience store on Central Avenue in Norwich on July 28, 2012, with a knife, grabbed the store owner from behind and told the victim he would kill him if he didn’t open the cash register. Hagins then fled the store with $300 to $400, only to be detained a few hours later at the nearby High Noon Saloon. Norwich Police drove the victim, store owner Rashid Munir, to the parking lot of the saloon, where he identified Hagins as the robber.
Prosecutor Stephen M. Carney said the victim had been held up many times and often would give would-be robbers food instead of money.
“In this case, he thought the defendant was after money for drugs,” Carney said.
Defense attorney Linda J. Sullivan said Hagins, unfortunately, has been “unable to pull himself out” of the drug lifestyle but is enrolled in a prison program to help him make better choices.
Judge Hillary B. Strackbein said the case serves as a reminder that drug crimes are not victimless and that people involved with drugs will go to any lengths to obtain them, including terrifying people.