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Man who robbed Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital employee sentenced to prison

Lejarris Williams, accused of robbing a Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital employee last year, was sentenced Thursday to at least four years in prison.

Williams, 31, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty to robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The victim, Michele Helms, told Mecklenburg Superior Court Judge Linwood Foust that the July 2012 armed robbery on the parking deck at Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital put her under extreme emotional stress.

“I’m still undergoing counseling,” she said. “I was extremely terrified that day.”

Helms’ robbery occurred three weeks after two Presbyterian Hospital employees were attacked on the same day. One of the employees, a nurse, was stabbed in a parking lot at the corner of Fifth Street and Hawthorne Lane across from the hospital. The assailant also grabbed her purse and tote bag. The other employee, a secretary, was assaulted in a parking garage where patients and employees park. She was pushed in a stairwell.

During Thursday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Dan McNeill told the judge that Helms was robbed after she’d gotten on the parking deck elevator.

Williams pulled a gun, the prosecutor said, and demanded Helms’ purse. Williams fled after Helms gave him the purse.

Hospital security guards pursued the robbery suspect, who was running from the scene. The suspect stopped when the guards pulled their weapons, the prosecutor said.

McNeill said Williams had Helms’ purse when he was captured. A handgun was found in Williams’ pocket, he said.

Defense attorney Karen McCallum told the judge that Williams wanted to apologize for robbing Helms. She described her client as “extremely remorseful.”

McCallum told the judge that Williams had a history of crack cocaine addiction and was impaired when he robbed Helms.

Foust sentenced Williams to prison for a minimum of four years and three months to a maximum of six years and two months.

Williams’ mother, Belinda Mobley, told reporters after the sentencing that she didn’t want her son to plead guilty.

“I wanted him to go to trial,” Mobley said. “He would have had a good chance of winning.”

Wright: 704 358-5052
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