Carrington convicted for armed robbery of Lewistown Sunoco

LEWISTOWN – One of three people involved in an armed robbery on July 26, 2012, at the Sunoco station on South Main Street was convicted Wednesday of all six charges filed against him.

Akzavier Carrington, 18, was 17 years old at the time of the robbery but was tried as an adult due to the severity of the charges. He was convicted of two counts each of robbery and conspiracy, as well as one count each of terroristic threats and theft.

Defense Attorney Stuart Cilo said he respects the verdict and will discuss filing an appeal with his client.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Remy said he would “like to recognize the bravery and courage of Amanda Hocker,” who was the cashier working at the gas station at the time of the robbery.

Hocker was the first to take the stand and testify on Wednesday, saying the robbery has affected her in many ways. She said she has difficulty sleeping, eating and doesn’t feel safe.

Hocker said two men – later identified as Carrington and 19-year-old Andrew Hoy – entered the store at 1:10 a.m. on the day in question. She said one of them pointed a pistol at her and demanded money from the register while the other man went to the rear of the store. She could not identify the men because they covered their faces, she said.

At one point during the trial, Remy played the surveillance video from the gas station. The armed robber can be seen pointing a pistol at Hocker, forcing her to the floor and threatening to harm her.

Hoy would later testify Carrington had a pellet gun, which he used in the commission of the robbery. Hoy’s job was to find and remove the surveillance footage, which he was unable to do.

Hoy and another co-conspirator, Charles Zeiders, 19, both of whom were offered plea agreements by the Mifflin County District Attorney’s office, testified against Carrington.

Zeiders testified he was the lookout for Hoy and Carrington. Zeiders and Hoy are expected to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in the near future.

Susan Carlous, the manager of the Sunoco station, said $72 was taken by the robbers.

Lewistown Police Department Detective Charles Miller, Sgt. Travis Scheaffer and Officer Jeromy Poff testified about their investigation into the robbery.

Miller testified there were several leads law enforcement followed during the course of an eight-month investigation.

At another point during the trial, the jurors were shown footage of the three suspects and another man, Kyle Boisvert, returning to a residence at Baumgardner Apartments on Chestnut Street shortly after the robbery.

Hoy and Zeiders testified they went to Boisvert’s apartment after the robbery, but said Boisvert did not participate in the robbery.

Throughout the course of the trial and during his closing arguments, Cilo attempted to chip away at the credibility of Zeiders and Hoy as reliable witnesses. Cilo even requested the case be dismissed just before his closing argument. The request was denied by President Judge Timothy S. Searer.

Cilo did not call his client or any other witnesses to testify.

Cilo said the real conspiracy was between Hoy and Zeiders and that another person – not Carrington – may have been involved with the robbery.

Cilo also suggested that Zeiders may have been the man with the gun, because Sheaffer initially thought the gunman may have been a white man when he first viewed the video surveillance at the store on the night of the robbery. Carrington and Hoy are both black.

During Remy’s closing remarks, he asked the jury to consider Hoy’s and Zeiders’ testimony as credible. He said the only logical explanation for Carrington being seen on video surveillance at the apartment complex 20 minutes after the robbery is that he was the third person involved with the robbery.

Remy said there were five things a defense attorney usually puts forward in the course of a trial to deflect suspicion from the person charged with the crime, all of which Remy said Cilo did during the course of this trial.

“Call everyone else a liar allege a conspiracy admit what you must deny what you can and make counter charges,” Remy said.

Searer ordered a presentence investigation. Carrington is expected to be sentenced in January.

Prior to the start of the trial, the attorneys and Searer put previous plea agreements offered to Carrington on the record, one of which called for a global resolution to the robbery and two pending drug cases against Carrington, which would have called for a minimum three-year sentence. Carrington rejected the offer along with another offer that called for a minimum five-year sentence.

Carrington remains incarcerated in the Mifflin County Correctional Facility.