Janesville63.3°

Armed robber given 19 years

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Mike DuPre'
February 6, 2008
— A tearful Amanda Norman said Tuesday that she cannot go into a gas station without being afraid.

“I had trouble sleeping and nightmares for months,” said Norman, 26, Janesville.


The reason for Norman’s fear and troubled sleep is Larry Johnson.


Last April, Johnson, 48, formerly of 1814 N. Sumac Drive, Janesville, walked into the Stop-N-Go, 1604 E. Racine St., Janesville, where Norman was the clerk.


Johnson brandished a folding knife.


“He threatened to kill me if I didn’t open the (cash) drawer,” Norman recalled.


The convenience store/gas station was one of four businesses that Johnson robbed in April—three in Janesville and one in Edgerton—to stoke his drug habit.


The Janesville robberies include one at Shockwave Video, 1700 Center Ave., in which Johnson held a knife to the throat of a friend of the clerk’s to force the clerk to open the cash register.


On Tuesday, Judge Alan Bates sentenced Johnson to 19 years in prison and 19 years extended supervision for the three Janesville robberies—specifically convictions for armed robbery using force, armed robbery threatening force and attempted robbery threatening force.


The judge could have sentenced Johnson to many more years behind bars because he had pleaded guilty to a dozen felonies, some of which date to 2005 and 2006 and include burglary, felon possessing a gun, forgery and bail-jumping.


Bates imposed nine sentences split between prison and extended supervision. They ranged from two years prison and two years extended supervision to five years prison and five years extended supervision on each.


But the judge ordered that Johnson serve those sentences concurrently to the three consecutive robbery sentences he imposed.


Johnson also was ordered to pay almost $5,900 in restitution.


“Between prison and extended supervision, the sentence is just about your life expectancy, but it gives you a chance of release,” Bates told Johnson. “It is not a life sentence.”


Johnson is not eligible for early release or to challenge his sentence.


Bates told Johnson that he must be punished but that the most important aspect of the long sentence was that the public had to be protected from him and his drug habit.


Norman said she was “very satisfied” with Johnson’s sentence.


“I felt that by my coming today, that helped the judge see how he robbed the store and how it affected me,” she said.


For two months after the robbery, Norman said, she had to have her husband, brother or another male friend with her on the job to quell her fear. But the fear forced her to quit after a couple of months, she said.


Johnson has a criminal record dating more than 30 years and including 38 convictions, according to statements made in court.


He apologized to his victims and for his drug habit.



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