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Amanda Maher and James Glasco still have other matters before the court
A man and woman accused of plotting together to rob a St. John's gas station last December were both acquitted Tuesday.
Amanda Maher, 34, has been released from custody, while James Glasco, 45, remains in jail and will appear in court on other matters Wednesday.
The pair had both pleaded not guilty to an armed robbery at the Irving service station on Freshwater Road last December, with Judge David Orr hearing from a number of witnesses during a two-day trial last week. Orr returned Tuesday morning with a not guilty verdict for both accused.
It was an issue of identification when it came to Glasco, his defence lawyer argued, since neither the store clerk nor police investigators had been able to confirm he was the man who robbed the store while wielding a baseball bat. Surveillance cameras captured the robbery on video.
When it came to Maher, she didn't deny she was the woman seen in the video footage leaving the store seconds before the robber entered, but said she had no knowledge of the robbery and had simply been in the store to buy a Pepsi and some chocolate for her ill father.
The video showed what appeared to be someone hiding around the corner of the building, as a woman in glasses, a hat and a winter coat entered the store around 4:30 a.m., making her purchases and chatting politely with the clerk. She asked for a straw and followed his directions to the other side of the store to get one, before wishing him a good evening and leaving.
The footage showed the woman appearing to hold the door open as she left for a man who entered while wearing a bandanna over the bottom part of his face and brandishing a baseball bat. He approached the counter, used the bat to smash the glass of the lottery ticket display, then yelled at the cashier to put money into a book bag he thrust at him.
"Cash, cash, cash, now!" the robber screamed. "All your cash! Cigarettes, come on!"
The robber asked for more cigarettes and directed the clerk to a certain kind. He then ran from the store in the same direction the woman had been walking minutes earlier.
After RNC officers identified Maher from the video, two investigators visited her at home. She told them she didn't know Glasco and had gone to the store for her father. When the officers spoke privately with Maher's father, they found his answers to be inconsistent with hers, and, after leaving briefly to review the other evidence they had collected, decided to arrest her.
One of the officers found Glasco sitting on the bed in a bedroom inside the home.
Glasco testified he had told Maher to tell police he was not in the home, since he had been caught shoplifting from a nearby drugstore the day before the robbery — having been released from custody the day prior to that with Highway Traffic Act charges — and had a feeling he was going to be arrested.
He told the court he and Maher had spent the night of the robbery together at her home, drinking and doing cocaine while her father, who was ill, slept. He fell asleep around 2:30 a.m., he testified. He said he believed Maher had gone to the store to buy a Pepsi and chocolate for her father, who needed food to take with his medication in the morning.
In the end, the judge ruled the evidence against Glasco and Maher was insufficient to convict them.
Maher was released from custody later in the day on a $500 surety and a number of conditions, including that she have no contact with Glasco. She is still facing charges related to a theft from Coastal Marine in Carbonear as well as a theft from Piper's in St. John's, for which she is charged jointly with Glasco. She'll appear in provincial court in Harbour Grace April 29, and in St John's for the latter charge June 5.
Glasco is also facing a number of charges under the Highway Traffic Act, to which he is expected to plead guilty. He'll return to court in St. John's Wednesday.