Woman convicted in robberies of two Danville pharmacies

October 29, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

A Boyle Circuit Court jury convicted a former Perryville woman in the armed robbery of two Danville drug stores Thursday and recommended she serve 10 years in prison.

Leslie S. Pumphrey, 25, was convicted of taking part in the robbery of Rite Aid on Jan. 7, 2001, and Hall's Pharmacy on Jan. 24 of that same year. OxyContin and methadone were taken during both robberies.

Pumphrey's partner in the crimes, Shawn Dewayne Douglas, 36, pleaded guilty to the robberies two years ago and testified against Pumphrey. Douglas, who brandished a small handgun during the hold-ups, is serving 12 years in prison.

Pumphrey, who had been living with her parents in her hometown of Waynesburg since being released on bond, was taken back into custody after the verdict was returned. The jury deliberated for about an hour and half before finding her guilty and another 10 minutes to recommend her punishment at 10 years in jail.


Final sentencing before Boyle Circuit Judge Darren Peckler is set for Dec. 7.

Testimony during the three-day trial revealed that Pumphrey and Douglas used a similar plan in both robberies. The couple, who used to live together at 400 W. Fifth St. in Perryville, approached the businesses at closing time and Pumphrey would say they needed to ask the pharmacist a question. Once inside the stores, Pumphrey produced a note demanding the narcotics while Douglas showed employees he was armed with a handgun. Once receiving the drugs, the couple fled in a car.

Pumphrey's attorney, Theodore Lavit of Lebanon, tried to pin all the blame for the crimes on Douglas, whom he said had physically abused Pumphrey and forced her at gunpoint to go along with the robberies.

"She didn't know those robberies were going to take place until they were in the store and he handed her the note," Lavit told jurors during his closing argument. "She was forced to participate. She had a gun to her back. She had fear for her life and her parents' lives. She was abused regularly by Shawn Douglas. She never had possession of those stolen drugs. She was under the control and dominion of Shawn Douglas. He's a bonafide outlaw."

She acted like a willing participant

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bill Stevens, however, reminded jurors of eye-witness testimony, including from Douglas, that Pumphrey acted like a willing participant in the crimes. She told employees "Don't move" and pharmacist Michael Hall said Douglas and Pumphrey were standing four feet apart - "not standing behind her with a gun to her back" - and that she followed Hall behind the counter when he went to get the drugs they demanded, Stevens said during his closing argument.

Stevens also dismissed Pumphrey's claim that she was under Douglas' control and that he was the only one responsible for the crimes.

"This was two junkies trying to get their fix for that day. One of them was armed with a gun," Stevens said. "This is her lover. This is the person she chose to live with. She actively participated. Why would Shawn Douglas take an unwilling person into these stores to rob them? Why?"

Lavit tried to paint a sympathetic portrait of his client. Pumphrey suffered trauma as a fifth-grader at Waynesburg Elementary School when school secretary Glenda Greer was shot to death at the school in 1990. A serious traffic accident at 16 left her in constant pain and caused her to become dependent on painkillers, Lavit said. Then, she made the mistake of hooking up with Douglas.

"She takes blame," Lavit told jurors. "She's still kicking herself in the butt for ever getting involved with Shawn Douglas and she will be for the rest of her life. "

Central Kentucky News Articles