By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Two people facing charges in connection with several area armed robberies were indicted in Laurel County Circuit Court Friday.
Darla Kay McCormick, 47, of Gray, and Shawn K. Stehlin, 32, of Lily, were both named on a three-count indictment.
Both suspects remain in custody; however, only Stehlin appeared before Judge Tom Jensen Friday. Stehlin remains jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Center and is listed as having two cash bonds totaling $75,000.
McCormick remains jailed in the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women in Pewee Valley.
McCormick waived her right to a preliminary hearing in April. She is listed as having a $25,000 fully-secured bond.
In court Friday, Attorney Kelly Ridings, who represents Stehlin, waived formal arraignment on his behalf and pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Stehlin is normally represented by attorney Mike Brophy.
Attorney Roger Gibbs represents McCormick, who did not appear in court. Jensen issued an arrest warrant for McCormick.
Both McCormick and Stehlin are scheduled for a status hearing June 21.
In their indictment, both suspects were named in the first count, charging both with first-degree robbery in connection with an April tobacco store robbery.
The second count charges Stehlin with second-degree persistent felony offender, after his February 2011 conviction for his second or subsequent offense of third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. He was sentenced to three years for that crime.
The third count indicts McCormick on a charge of first-degree persistent felony offender.
Court documents state McCormick was convicted in Laurel Circuit Court in October 2004 for her first offense of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, for which she was sentenced to eight years, enhanced to 10 years by being a first-degree persistent felony offender. She was also convicted in Boyle Circuit Court in November 2010 for first-degree promoting contraband, for which we was sentenced to one year. In September 2010, McCormick was convicted in Laurel Circuit Court for first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and was sentenced in that case to 10 years. In Whitley Circuit Court, McCormick was convicted in May 1996 for first-degree hindering prosecution or apprehension, for which she was sentenced to a year. In March 1996 in Laurel Circuit Court, McCormick was convicted of theft by unlawful taking property valued at $300 or more, for which she was sentenced to one year. In March 1998 in Laurel Circuit Court, McCormick was convicted for illegally possessing alcohol in a dry territory, third offense.
Prosecuting attorneys noted McCormick should have higher bond, as she was convicted of those six prior offenses.
Stehlin was arrested April 16 after a robbery at Brock’s Tobacco Store on KY 229.
Laurel County Sheriff John Root said Stehlin was arrested after the alleged accomplice, McCormick, was arrested at a grocery store by Laurel Deputy Larry Parrott.
Root said in that robbery, a lone gunman sporting a pantyhose mask and armed with a pistol entered Brock’s and robbed the store of an undisclosed amount of money.
The man ran into the parking lot, where a Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by the female accomplice waited. A witness followed the Chevrolet and got the license plate number.
Root said investigators learned from McCormick after her arrest that she had allegedly dropped off Stehlin at his mother’s home.
Senior Sgt. Greg Poynter and Parrott went to the residence, where Stehlin was arrested after a brief scuffle with police. Root said he was found hiding under the bed.
Stehlin admitted to the April 9 robbery of the Tobacco Shop on U.S. 25E, according to Barbourville Police Detective Steve Owens.
In that robbery, the suspect approached the drive-through window on foot, drew and aimed a semi-automatic handgun, and demanded cash, Owens said.
That suspect fled on foot with more than $1,000. He was described as a thinly-built white male, with either a short beard or goatee, wearing a black hoodie. At that time, police were also seeking a Chevrolet Trailblazer possibly connected with the robbery.
Root said Stehlin may also be the suspect in the March 29 robbery of Unique Tanning and Gifts, which is on U.S. 25W near U.S. 25E. In that robbery, a lone gunman robbed the clerk on duty.
Root added that Stehlin may also be the suspect in the attempted robbery of the Wildcat Tobacco Store April 18. The sheriff said during that attempt, a lone gunman entered the store to rob it but was “scared off.”