Richland man pleads guilty to robbing Finley Truck Stop

By Paula Horton, Tri-City HeraldOctober 27, 2012 

A week after his co-defendant admitted to holding up the Finley Truck Stop, a 21-year-old Richland man also took responsibility for his role in the heist.

Robert Ryan Ray Paxton pleaded guilty this week in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle and attempting to elude police.

In exchange for his plea, aggravating factors on the eluding charge and a deadly weapon enhancement on the robbery were dismissed.

Paxton is expected to be sentenced next week. Prosecutors agreed to recommend three years and five months in prison, but he could receive up to 41/2 years.

Paxton's codefendant, Christopher Sherman, 18, of Texas, was sentenced last week to two years and seven months in prison.

Sherman, who was 17 at the time of the robbery, and Paxton schemed to rob the clerk of more than $300 cash and cigarettes on Aug. 15.

Sherman was the one who went into the store while Paxton waited in the getaway car. Sherman told police that Paxton gave him the gun, but Paxton denied that and said he didn't know the teen would use a gun, documents stated.

Paxton was arrested three days later after Kennewick police spotted the Honda Accord that was believed to be involved in the robbery.

Officers were in the 4200 block of West Metaline Avenue about 4:30 a.m. Aug. 18 investigating a series of burglaries when they saw the Honda with Sherman in the passenger seat.

Paxton, who was driving, refused commands to stop and drove off at speeds up to 80-90 mph through residential areas. He blew through red lights and stop signs and passed several motorists during the 15-minute chase.

Paxton almost hit a Benton County sheriff's deputy and did strike a Kennewick patrol car, documents said.

He eventually lost control of the car, which went off the road and hit a business at 115 W. Canal Drive.

Officers also learned the red Honda Accord had been stolen from Parra Auto Sales sometime during the evening of Aug. 14 or early Aug. 15.

Prosecutors had said they would add an assault charge against Paxton for hitting the Kennewick cruiser, if he took the case to trial.

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