By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Atmore man convicted of robbing a local grocery store more than 16 years ago, was denied parole last week after hearings before the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole.
The request for parole by Lasherman L. Thomas, 37, formerly of a Montgomery Street address in Atmore, was one of 24 heard by board members last Wednesday, February 5. Thomas, who is housed at medium-security Bullock Correctional Facility, near Union Springs, has been in prison since April 9, 2005.
He was initially charged at age 18 with the January 20, 2004 robbery of H&W EZ Grocery, which operated at 523 North Main Street in Atmore. According to Atmore Police Department archives, a man later identified as Thomas entered the store, pointed a pistol at the grocer, then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Alabama Department of Corrections tracking dogs were unable to pick up a trail because the store was in a “high foot traffic” area, but Thomas was arrested two weeks later by then-APD Investigator Chuck Brooks, who now serves as the city’s chief of police.
Thomas received a 20-year sentence on the robbery charge and a 10-year consecutive sentence for first-degree theft of property. He was placed on probation, but the probation was revoked after he was stopped at an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office checkpoint on June 18, 2010.
According to reports, the Atmore man was driving with a suspended license. He voluntarily surrendered marijuana that he had in his pocket and was charged with first-degree possession of marijuana because of a prior conviction for second-degree possession of marijuana. Because the new charge was a felony, Thomas was ordered to serve the remainder of his robbery sentence in the state prison system.
Even with time off for good behavior, Thomas will have to serve at least until July 11, 2027 before he is released, unless parole or a pardon is granted in the meantime.
Parole was also denied last week for a Brewton man, 23-year-old Michael Anthony Woods.
Woods was convicted in 2018 on one count each of possession of a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance, as well as two separate counts of possession of or receiving a controlled substance.
Woods is currently housed at Staton Corrections Center in Elmore. His minimum release date, without a pardon or parole, is March 1, 2021.
Another Brewton man, 33-year-old Kurtis Levar Hall Cottman, is scheduled for parole consideration this Thursday, February 13.