One of the two men arrested in connection with three robberies in St. John’s in less than two hours Monday night pleaded with the judge to set him free when he appeared in provincial court Tuesday afternoon.
“Can you release me? Can you please just release me?” Dennis Faulkner, 34, asked Judge Colin Flynn from his seat in the prisoner’s dock. “I did not do this crime. I had no part in it.”
The robberies are alleged to have taken place at a Subway restaurant on Water Street, Campbell Avenue Convenience store, and an Ultramar store on Blackmarsh Road between 5 p.m. and just before 7 p.m. Faulkner and 36-year-old Jeremy Leonard were arrested shortly after the third robbery.
Leonard is facing charges of robbery in connection with all three incidents, and consented to remain in custody until his next court appearance in a couple of weeks.
Faulkner has been charged with robbery and breach of a court order to be of good behaviour in relation to the Subway incident, as well as two more counts of breaching court orders in relation to incidents said to have happened Feb. 7, when he allegedly contacted two people with whom he was banned from having contact. Faulkner is still in custody, awaiting a bail hearing.
Neither Faulkner nor Leonard is a stranger to the courts. Leonard — who was charged in 2008 with a string of thefts from a downtown furrier, where he repeatedly used a rock to smash a window and steal leather clothing — recently completed a period of parole after serving federal time for a number of crimes. Faulkner’s criminal record includes violent and impulsive crimes. In 2007 he was sentenced to five years behind bars for a Christmas Day 2006 incident in which he stabbed a man 28 times, beat him with a hammer and robbed him in his home. Faulkner told the court he suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, and a medical expert testified at his trial that although he knows right from wrong, he doesn’t have the mental ability to appreciate the consequences of some of his actions. The judge at that time accepted that Faulkner was less culpable due to his mental condition and other facts of the case, but didn’t accept he didn’t know what he was doing.