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Punch-and-run thief gets 4 months in prison

Posted: March 21, 2012 - 11:10pm
Joshua Jones is seen here in this March 16 file photo.  Michael Penn/Juneau Empire file
Michael Penn/Juneau Empire file
Joshua Jones is seen here in this March 16 file photo.

A Juneau man pleaded guilty in Juneau Superior Court to assaulting and stealing money from a cab driver in early January.

Joshua Raymond Jones, 19, pleaded to two misdemeanors — fourth-degree assault and third-degree theft — on Wednesday.

Judge Philip Pallenberg accepted a plea deal reached with prosecutors that calls for a composite jail sentence of 16 months with 12 suspended, meaning there’s four months to serve.

The plea deal also requires Jones to pay more than $6,000 in restitution, write a letter of apology to the cab driver, contact the Juneau Alcohol Safety Action Program for screening and to be on probation for two years after his release from prison. He is also prohibited from contacting any cab companies.

District Attorney David Brower said in court a cab driver picked Jones up in the downtown area early in the morning on Jan. 6 and drove him behind the Breeze In location in Mendenhall Valley.

Brower said Jones, who had no money on him, asked the 46-year-old driver for Glacier Taxi & Tours LCC, for change for $100 as he prepared to exit the cab.

While the driver handed back change in exchange for a piece of paper Jones was holding, Jones punched him in the face and ran off with somewhere between $100 and $150, Brower said.

“I think the elements of robbery are there,” Brower told the judge. “I think in this case, given Mr. Jones’ age, (the cab driver) who has agreed with this resolution and I think it’s a good resolution.”

An earlier Juneau Police Department release said the driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital. Brower said the hospital bill totaled about $5,000, which Jones would have to pay back in restitution, plus about $700 for the driver’s broken glasses and $150 for the money he admittedly stole.

JPD arrested Jones on Jan. 6, according to their press release and court records. He was originally charged with one count of second-degree robbery, a felony, and one count of fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. The plea deal reduced the felony robbery charge to a misdemeanor theft charge.

Jones’ attorney Assistant Public Defender Grace Lee told Pallenberg her client was apologetic and wanted to make things right. She said she thought the plea agreement focused on the sentencing goals of rehabilitation and deterrence. He has no prior criminal record, she said, except a misdemeanor assault conviction in a city case while he was in custody for this matter.

Pallenberg told Jones he was getting a break because of his age.

“I’m to some extent deferring to the lawyers who have more information than I do, and sometimes courts have to do that,” Pallenberg said, adding. “The message I want you to take with you is that you only get a deal like this once. So if something happens like this again, ever, I expect they’ll throw the book at you. I sure will.”

Jones was sentenced in Juneau District Court earlier this month for punching a friend in the face while playing Call of Duty. He received 60 days to serve in that case, plus two years probation.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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