Jury Convicts Ada, Minn., Man of Trying to Rob Grand Forks Burger KingA Grand Forks jury this morning convicted Drew Smith of trying to rob a Burger King on South Washington Feb. 18 , and of terrorizing and assaulting two employees who stopped him.
By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald
A Grand Forks jury this morning convicted Drew Smith of trying to rob a Burger King on South Washington Feb. 18 , and of terrorizing and assaulting two employees who stopped him.
State District Judge Debbie Kleven set sentencing for Nov. 13.
Smith, 22, was convicted of attempted robbery, a Class B felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years; terrorizing, a Class C felony and simple assault, a misdemeanor.
He had struck a plea deal in July that would have meant two years in prison – a sentence of five years with three years suspended and served as probation.
In that agreement, prosecutors said they would treat the robbery charge as only a Class C felony, in what was apparently an inadvertent reduction from the original charge, according to court documents.
Once Smith rejected the plea deal during a pre-trial hearing in August and "persisted," in pleading not guilty, Carmell Mattison, assistant state’s attorney for Grand Forks County, said she would amend the charge back to a Class B felony of attempted robbery using the threat of bodily injury with a weapon.
The jury of eight women and four men deliberated about 90 minutes Wednesday before breaking because one woman had to pick up a child from day care. They re-assembled for about 30 minutes today before announcing a verdict.
Smith was accused of entering the Burger King’s kitchen and grabbing money from a till drawer on the floor next to an open safe and then hitting an employee who grabbed him and threatening to kill two employees who struggled with him, saying he had a knife. The employees held him until police arrived.
His attorney, David Ogren, asked the jury to consider that Smith was too confused to intend to rob the place and spoke the threats only as a way to get away and that he didn’t really have a knife.
Mattison said for purposes of proving the threat in legal terms, it doesn’t matter if he had a knife or not.
Smith would not tell police his name and was arrested as a John Doe until his identity was confirmed the next day. He’s also spent time in jail in Crookston.
Smith had told the court he lived with his mother in Ada, Minn., and had no job or money. He said he was so high at the Burger King he was hallucinating and couldn’t remember his own name or why he was there.
“I’m glad the jury held him accountable and didn’t let him use the defense that he was under the influence of methamphetamine,” Mattison said.
No tests were taken at the time to determine if he was using drugs at the time, she said.