Man gets six years for robbing store clerk at gunpoint

WOODSTOCK – A man with a history of mental illness must serve six years in prison for robbing a convenience store clerk with a BB gun in Shenandoah County last year.

WOODSTOCK – A man with a history of mental illness must serve six years in prison for robbing a convenience store clerk with a BB gun in Shenandoah County last year.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp sentenced David Early Ogle, 35, formerly of Edinburg, in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Friday to 15 years in a state penitentiary for committing one count of robbery, three years for use of a firearm in the commission of the felony and attempted abduction. Hupp suspended all but three years of the robbery sentence. He suspended the term for attempted abduction in its entirety. The state requires Ogle to serve the mandatory minimum sentence of three years on the firearm charge.

Ogle pleaded guilty to all three charges May 23. An agreement reached between then Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kristen Zalenski and public defender Peter McDermott called for Ogle to plead guilty to the charges and to receive a term of active prison time within sentencing guidelines. Hupp accepted the plea agreement May 23 and sentenced Ogle within the guidelines, which   recommended he receive a punishment between three years and 10 months and seven years and one month. The 6-years active time falls closer to the high end of the guidelines.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley asked Hupp to sentence Ogle to an active term in the upper half of the guidelines. McDermott asked the judge to sentence Ogle to a term at the low end of the guidelines.

Authorities accused Ogle of robbing a clerk at the Country Convenience Store in Edinburg the morning of Nov. 8. Ogle, wearing a black bandana covering his face, brandished a revolver and demanded money from the sole employee working at the time. Ogle then demanded that the employee give up his cell phone and business phone, authorities said. Ogle fled the scene but tips from the public led Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office deputies to the suspect whom they then arrested without incident and charged. Ogle has been held without bond at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail since his arrest.

At Ogle’s sentencing, McDermott provided a report by a doctor who examined the defendant indicating that his client was not insane at the time he committed the robbery.

McDermott said Ogle suffers from mental illness including post-traumatic stress disorder for which he now receives treatment. McDermott said his client has been hospitalized more than once for mental health problems and turned to drugs to “push down his fear and pain.”

The sentencing guidelines mean that other courts found punishments as low as three years and 10 months appropriate for defendants in situations similar to the defendant’s, McDermott said. Such a punishment is appropriate for Ogle, McDermott argued.

Wiseley argued that sentencing Ogle at the low end of the guidelines as McDermott requested would send the wrong message. Wiseley cited the severity of the incident and the threat posed to the store employee who did not know at the time that Ogle used a BB gun and not a real firearm. Ogle’s actions put the employee in “absolute fear” for his life, Wiseley said.

Wiseley said Ogle used heroin before committing the robbery but McDermott argued there was no evidence to support that claim.

Ogle recently completed an anger management course through the Warren Coalition, McDermott said, citing a letter he provided to the court.

Before sentencing, Ogle read from a statement in which he apologized for his actions and also noted his mental illness, abuse as a child by his father, and his problems with alcohol and drugs.

Hupp acknowledged that Ogle suffers from mental health issues but noted that a doctor’s evaluation indicated the defendant was sane at the time he committed the robbery. Hupp pointed out that Ogle, while not a felon, has been previously convicted of misdemeanor charges of assault and brandishing a firearm.