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Ohio man pleads guilty to gas station robbery in Gate City

Wes Bunch • Jul 13, 2013 at 10:40 PM

GATE CITY — An Ohio man pleaded guilty this week in Scott County Circuit Court to using a pellet gun earlier this year to rob a Gate City gas station as he was passing through the region on his way to Florida.

Domonique Parnell, 19 — whose last known residence was in Columbus, Ohio — pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of robbery, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and assault and battery for his role in the April robbery.

Parnell’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4 in Scott County court. Prosecutors said Parnell, who has no prior criminal history, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison due to the armed robbery charge.

Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said the fact that Parnell did not use an actual firearm during the robbery could be taken into account at sentencing.

“He could get life in Virginia because the code of Virginia does not distinguish between a real firearm and a BB gun,” McClung said. “However, and I never want to speak for a judge, the fact that he didn’t use a real gun could certainly be mitigating evidence for him.”

Parnell was arrested by the Gate City Police Department on April 4, several hours after he robbed the Patriot Gas-Wilderness Road Market, located at 3552 U.S. Route 23 in Gate City.

McClung said Parnell decided to carry out the robbery after his vehicle ran out of gas while he was traveling from Ohio to Florida.

According to police accounts, Parnell entered the gas station around 9:30 p.m. and demanded one of the two clerks on duty give him

Parnell then grabbed several $20 bills before fleeing the store.

Witnesses told authorities that they believed Parnell brandished a semi-automatic pistol during the alleged robbery. Authorities later determined the weapon to be a pellet gun.

Parnell was arrested following a search by the Gate City Police Department, Scott County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police. A GCPD K9 officer reportedly located Parnell hiding in a storm drain alongside Route 23.

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