Letcher County man sentenced to 12 years for robbery

Braden U. Stamper

An eastern Kentucky man will serve 12 years in prison after pleading guilty last week to taking a friend's vehicle without permission.

Braden Uriah Stamper, 31, of Premium, Kentucky, appeared before Pulaski Circuit Judge Jeffrey Burdette and pleaded guilty to first-degree Robbery. In exchange for the guilty plea, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David Dalton recommended a 12-year sentence and dismissed charges of fourth-degree Assault (Domestic Violence) and first-degree Persistent Felony Offender.

The robbery charge stemmed from an incident that began at Crossroads IGA last November 5. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office reported at the time that Deputy David Wesley was dispatched to a domestic disturbance at Crossroads IGA on East Ky. 80 at noon on Monday, where he was informed that a silver 2011 Chevrolet passenger car occupied by a male and female had left the store headed east on Ky. 80. Witnesses had allegedly observed the male subject striking the female occupant.

Within minutes, 911 Dispatch received a second call regarding a female on the side of the road at the 33 mile marker fitting the description of the victim assaulted at the grocery store. Wesley made contact with Ashley Sturgell, 33, of Premium, Ky., at that location being helped by two firefighters. She told authorities that she had driven Stamper, an acquaintance, to Bowling Green.

As they were traveling back home, Stamper became violent and demanded money, according to arrest reports. They stopped at Crossroads IGA where Stamper reportedly began screaming at Sturgell and accusing her of trying to poison him. He then struck her and took more than $300 in cash from her before he let her out of the vehicle and fled east on Ky. 80 toward the Laurel County line.

Deputies were able to catch up to Stamper when an off-duty Glasgow, Ky., police officer contacted the Kentucky State Police post in London to report that an individual near the Laurel-Pulaski County line was on the shoulder of the road breaking the windows out of a silver Chevrolet automobile, according to the sheriff's office.

Wesley and Trooper Richie Baxter responded to that scene where they then took Stamper into custody. A Pulaski County grand jury indicted him in January.

In the June 27 hearing, Dalton said he recommended 12 years imprisonment given the seriousness of the offense. He noted that first-degree Robbery is classified as a violent offense that requires Stamper to serve at least 85 percent before he can meet with the state parole board. He thanked the victim for her cooperation and praised the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office for their excellent work.

Stamper waived a PSI (presentence investigation) report -- allowing Judge Burdette to accept the plea agreement and sentence Stamper on the same day. At press time, he remains lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center.