Little Rock man sentenced to 22 years after pleading guilty to 12 robberies

File photo
File photo

A 24-year-old Little Rock man linked to a dozen armed robberies over two months in the capital city has pleaded guilty to two of them in exchange for a 22-year prison sentence.

Sentencing papers filed last week show Terry Dewan Tate Jr. pleaded guilty to two counts each of theft and Class Y felony aggravated robbery in exchange for the 22-year term imposed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson, with prosecutors dropping 10 other aggravated robbery charges. The sentence will require Tate to serve more than 15 years before he can apply for parole.

As a condition of his plea agreement, negotiated by deputy prosecutors Dakini Fields, Taylor Pearson and Elizabeth Whitfield with defense attorneys Ron Davis and Mark Hampton, sentences that Tate received for pleading guilty to drug-trafficking offenses will run concurrently with his robbery sentence.

Police said Tate implicated himself in 12 holdups in December 2017 and January 2018: Dec. 4, Shipley's Do-Nuts, 2900 S. University Ave.; Dec. 10, Daylight Donuts, 7610 Geyer Springs Road; Dec. 11, Joseph's Discount Store, 1624 S. University; Dec. 13, Hess Kwick Check, 7715 Geyer Springs; Dec. 14, RQ Quick Stop, 6024 Stagecoach Road; Dec. 22, Subway, 3400 S. University; Dec. 23, Roadway Inn; 2401 W. 65th; Dec. 28, CVS Pharmacy, 1122 S. University; Jan. 2, Shell station; 3723 Cantrell Road; Jan. 18, Game Xchange, 3412 S. University; Jan. 24, Razorback Security, 3018 S. University; Jan. 30, 2018, Shell convenience store, 10105 Baseline Road.

However, before Tate became a suspect, the probe into the holdups took a wrong turn when police arrested the wrong man for the doughnut shop holdups, charging him when witnesses picked him out of a police photo lineup after his name surfaced as a potential suspect.

Tate came to the attention of police after his palm prints were found on the sales counter following the Jan. 18 lunchtime robbery at the Game Xchange. Once the prints were confirmed to be Tate's on Jan. 30, 2018, police staked out a residence he was known to frequent, 11 Fairmont Drive, taking him into custody when he stepped outside.

Once in custody, Tate told detectives cigarettes he'd taken earlier that same day from the Baseline Road Shell holdup were in his backpack, while investigators noted he was wearing the same style Nike slides as the robber at that Shell had been wearing.

Tate subsequently confessed to the other 10 robberies with a detailed statement to investigators. He pleaded guilty to the Game Xchange and Baseline Shell holdups.

Tate was jailed under $500,000 bail for about six months until he persuaded the judge to reduce that amount to $100,000 and was released in June 2018. He was next arrested in April 2021 following a traffic stop in the 5000 block of South University after running a stop sign. Police found a felony amount of bagged marijuana in the car, resulting in a Class C felony charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Tate was released on his own recognizance but was arrested again last July during a traffic stop in the 4600 block of West 30th Street for failing to signal a turn.

During the subsequent search of Tate's person and car, police reported finding fentanyl and cocaine along with two pistols, resulting in Class Y charges of trafficking fentanyl and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, along with Class D possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

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