A Reynoldsburg man was sentenced to four years in prison for robbing a couple of gas stations in October.
John Michael Lanning, 19, of Reynoldsburg, appeared in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Friday afternoon for a change of plea hearing, five days before he and another man, Richard Brennan Long, 27, of Columbus, were scheduled to stand trial for robbery.
At the hearing, Lanning entered a guilty plea to two counts of robbery, second-degree felonies. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, two counts of theft, a fifth-degree felony and a first-degree misdemeanor, and one count of receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony, were dismissed.
Lanning told Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley that, in the early morning hours of Oct. 26, he and Long went to the Circle K in Powell and demanded money and cigarettes from the cashier. Lanning told Gormley that he used a BB-gun to threaten the cashier and left after receiving the items.
Lanning said he and Long then went to another gas station, the BP Duchess Shoppe on West Dublin Granville Road, where they committed a similar robbery but were spotted by Columbus Police as they left the parking lot.
“I’m very sorry for what I did,” Lanning said. Lanning said he was addicted to drugs and alcohol and was stealing to support his habit.
Lanning’s attorney, Brian Jones, told Gormley that Lanning had been “incredibly respectful” and “very remorseful” after his arrest.
As part of the plea agreement, Jones and Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Bigler jointly recommended that Lanning be sentenced to four years in prison. Lanning asked that the pre-sentence investigation be waived so he could begin serving his sentence immediately.
After Gormley reviewed the evidence and spoke with Lanning, Gormley went along with the joint recommendation and sentenced Lanning to four years in prison for the two robbery counts but ordered that they be served concurrently.
“I hope you get the help you need,” Gormley said, wishing Lanning well before adjourning the court.
Long also appeared in court Friday afternoon and pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, one second-degree felony and one third-degree felony. As part of the plea agreement with prosecutors, two counts of theft, a fifth-degree felony and a first-degree misdemeanor; one count of receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony; and two counts of failure to comply with order or signal of a police officer, one third-degree felony and one fourth-degree felony, were all dismissed.
Long similarly explained that he went with Lanning to the stores and stole cigarettes and cash. Long told Gormley that he honestly didn’t remember parts of the robbery because he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time.
Gormley accepted his plea and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 22 at 8:30 a.m.
A trial for the men had been scheduled for Jan. 17. They were indicted Nov. 3.
Both men were in the Delaware County Jail Friday evening.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.