WILKES-BARRE — A Hanover Township man sentenced Tuesday on charges he robbed a Turkey Hill store blamed his actions on his wife’s death.
Joshua Stewart Pierce, 29, appeared before Luzerne County Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. saying he was “not in the right state of mind” when he robbed the Turkey Hill on Hazle Street on Aug. 9, 2017. Pierce said his wife died in April 2017.
City police say Pierce admitted to using the stolen money to buy heroin.
Pierce pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony charge of robbery under a deal with prosecutors May 9.
Sklarosky sentenced Pierce to nine to 24 months less one day in prison.
Because Pierce was given credit for 328 days time served at the county lockup, he was granted immediate parole.
His attorney, Stephen Geist, said Pierce accepted responsibility by pleading guilty.
Pierce said he has attended drug and alcohol counseling while imprisoned.
“He’s been trying to stay on the straight path,” Geist said.
Police allege Pierce and a friend were inside Turkey Hill prior to the robbery about 2 a.m. After they left, Pierce gave the friend a ride to his residence on East Germania Street and returned to the store, parking on Nicholson Street.
Pierce claimed he entered the store wearing a hooded sweatshirt that concealed his face and demanded cash from a clerk. Pierce said he used the stolen money to buy food, a soda and heroin.
A Hanover Township officer identified Pierce from surveillance video.
Sklarosky ordered Pierce to pay restitution and not to patronize any Turkey Hill stores.