Robber hit over head with beer bottle gets 51 years

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The man who was hit over the head with a beer bottle while trying to rob a Virginia gas station has been sentenced to 51 years in prison.

Last Fall, Warren Brown, 32, was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery, and two counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence.

A second man, 34-year-old Winston Oliver, was convicted of the same crimes and received a 52 and a half year prison sentence.

Citing court records, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Oliver masterminded the crime after he received "inside information" about the truck stop gas station's cash management system.

Something CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone believes is not unusual in this case.

“Because it's very foreseeable that if you bring a gun in on a robbery that there's going to be a shooting and that this could happen,” said Stone.  “It looked like Oliver was the one who had the idea and provided the gun.  And really kind of pushed Brown into doing this even though Brown was the gunman.”

Stone said the federal prosecutors took over the case since the federal system requires a mandatory prison time -- and more severe penalties in certain circumstances where a firearm is used in the commission of a violent crime.

Both men, who faced possible sentences of life in prison, plan to appeal their sentences, according to their attorneys.

"Today’s sentencing sends the message that Caroline’s citizens will not turn a blind eye towards crime and their continued partnership with law enforcement is a force multiplier when it comes to thwarting criminal activity,” FBI Special Agent Michael Morehart said in a statement released to the media following Thursday's sentencing.

In May 2010, Brown attempted to rob the Mr. Fuel gas station off Interstate 95 in Caroline County, Virginia.

As he pointed a gun at the clerk, a customer who witnessed the crime, hit Brown over the head with a bottle of beer.

Brown shot the customer several times before running out of the store.

The customer, Theodore Edmonds, survived the shooting.

“Two clerks would have died if it weren’t for the heroism of a former Marine who put his life on the line to defend them,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride in a statement emailed to the media following Thursday's sentencing. “Mr. Brown feared this armed robbery would get him on late-breaking news, which definitely came true.  But was the least of his fears, and he and Mr. Oliver will now spend the next fifty years in prison for their life of crime that culminated in this armed robbery.”

"I'm doing fine,” said Edmunds.  “I just have headaches every now and then."

The two women working in the store said they're lives have been changed forever.  One even told the judge, "I can smell the beer, I can see the glass and blood."

Both of the victims have moved to other states since the May 2010 incident.

Brown and Winston apologized to the victims in court, while still maintaining their innocence.