A Fayetteville man was sentenced to 40 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of two armed robberies on April 7, 2011.
Anthony Craig Dobson, 46, robbed Jan's Flowers on Highway 85 south and, later in the same day, robbed the Rite-Aid at the corner of Highway 54 and Gingercake Road.
Dobson admitted to both robberies, but his attorney Christopher Ramig argued that his charge should be reduced to Robbery by Intimidation because he did not actually have a weapon in either incident.
District Attorney Scott Ballard argued that Dobson made threats that he did have a gun in both cases which were convincing to his victims and, therefore, warranted the dual armed robbery charges.
According to the testimony of Samantha Brown, who owns Jan's Flowers with her husband, Dobson arrived on the morning of April 7 wearing sunglasses and asking for directions to Newnan. Brown said Dobson indicated he had been given bad written directions that lead him to Riverdale, which raised her suspicion. She had also noticed that Dobson had arrived on foot and had no car in the parking lot.
Dobson then handed her a folded up note with the supposed directions, but when Brown read it her "heart dropped" when she saw the words:
"I have a gun. No funny shit. Put the money in the bag. Don't do something stupid."
Brown said he kept his hand in his pocket during the exchange, leading her to believe he had a gun. She showed the note to her mother-in-law Terry, who was helping at the shop, and Terry asked Dobson "What's up?" and he replied "I just have to do it, I've got sick kids at home."
Dobson took the money and escaped on foot.
Later that same day, around 4 p.m., Dobson entered the Rite-Aid, grabbed a candy bar, and set it down near the register. When the cashier opened it, he reached across and grabbed for the cash. The cashier initially resisted but relented when Dobson yelled "I've got a gun and I'll use it."
Ramig maintained that Dobson did not have a gun in either instance, that the responding police officer recorded the crime as "robbery by intimidation," and that the victims pursued him as he tried to escape in both cases, suggesting they didn't genuinely fear a gun.
The jury disagreed, finding Dobson guilty on both counts. Judge Christopher C. Edwards issued the sentence of two consecutive twenty year terms in prison which will begin after he has completed the term he is currently serving.