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Armed robbery trial ends abruptly as accused admits he’s guilty

Andrew Parsons arrives for what was scheduled to be the second day of his armed robbery trial in St. John’s Tuesday. The trial was cut short when Parsons’ lawyer told the judge he wanted to change his pleas to guilty.
Andrew Parsons arrives for what was scheduled to be the second day of his armed robbery trial in St. John’s Tuesday. The trial was cut short when Parsons’ lawyer told the judge he wanted to change his pleas to guilty. - Tara Bradbury
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Back in provincial court in St. John’s for the second day of his armed robbery trial, Andrew Parsons put a quick end to proceedings Tuesday by admitting he is guilty.

Parsons, 28, had pleaded not guilty to five charges related to the Feb. 22 armed robbery of Red Bridge Variety store in Kelligrews, and the first day of his trial had included testimony from seven witnesses, as well as surveillance video from three different locations.

When his trial was called to continue Tuesday morning, defence lawyer Sarah Evans told the court some new evidence had come to light and Parsons was changing his plea to guilty on four of the charges.

The fifth charge, of carrying a concealed weapon, was withdrawn by the Crown.

“I don’t need to hear any other facts, I saw enough evidence yesterday to enter convictions on all four counts,” Judge James Walsh said.

Parsons has been convicted of robbery, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, uttering threats and wearing a disguise with the intention of committing a crime. He will be back in court for a sentencing hearing Aug. 13.

Plainclothes RNC officers were tailing a silver Ford Fusion around C.B.S. the evening of Feb. 22 as part of a different investigation. When the vehicle stopped in a parking lot near Red Bridge Variety store and Parsons got out with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled tight around his face, one of the officers realized what was happening. By the time the police officer reached the store, Parsons was running out with cash and scratch lottery tickets, having wielded a large knife and telling the clerk she was dead if she pushed the police alarm.

The police officer chased Parsons through residential backyards until Parsons entered a wooded area. The officer called for the RNC’s K-9 unit, and a police dog tracked Parsons to the North Atlantic gas station on the C.B.S. Highway. Parsons was captured on video as he asked the store manager to call him a cab, and then left in it.

Police issued a public appeal for information on Parson’s whereabouts, saying he was one of three men suspected in the robbery. Parsons turned himself in without incident two nights later.


tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com
Twitter: @tara_bradbury



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