TAMPA -- A 23-year-old Bradenton man has been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to the robbery of a gas station and the pistol-whipping of a clerk during a robbery at another station, according to federal prosecutors.
Lashay Theodora Cooper, who was sentenced Monday, will serve the sentence consecutively with a 70-month state prison sentence for two unrelated robberies, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Tampa.
Cooper had been pleaded guilty Jan. 27 to robbery and weapons charges in the cases.
According to Cooper's plea agreement and evidence presented at the trial of a co-defendant, Cooper and his accomplice Charles Bernard Tolson robbed the Uppy's BP gas station on U.S. 41 North in Palmetto on Oct. 25, 2009.
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Tolson twice tried to shoot the clerk when she failed to open the register and when the gun did not fire, he gave the gun to Cooper who then pistol-whipped the woman, leaving a severe gash to her head. Tolson and Cooper fled with one or two cartons of cigarettes, according to the release.
Two days later, Cooper and Tolson robbed a Chevron gas station on State Road 70 East in Bradenton. Tolson pointed a gun at a clerk, while Cooper went around the counter and took several hundred dollars in cash and cigarettes, according to the release.
A jury in February found Tolson, 19, guilty of three counts of robbery and three counts of brandishing a firearm during a robbery. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison when he is sentenced next month.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Tampa Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.