, Corbin, KY

May 22, 2013

Man arraigned for Taco Bell, Cash Express robberies

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A man facing robbery charges in two counties was arraigned in Whitley County District Court in Corbin Tuesday.

Jason A. Wagers, 35, of London, faced Judge Cathy Prewitt sporting handcuffs and jail attire from the Whitley County Detention Center.

During Wagers’ brief court appearance, it was learned that Stephen Jones was his attorney for other robbery cases against him; however, Wagers appeared without an attorney Tuesday.

Wagers faces charges in the armed robberies of two Corbin businesses last year — the Cash Express and Taco Bell.

Prewitt asked Wagers if he planned to hire an attorney, and he said he did. The judge explained that first-degree robbery is a felony, and that she would enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for May 28.

In October, a man wearing a dark hoodie with his mouth covered by a handkerchief walked into Taco Bell, pulled out a handgun, and demanded money from the manager. The manager was forced to comply, emptying the cash registers into a take-out bag.

According to a 14-count indictment handed down in Laurel County Circuit Court in April, the gunman forced four employees on duty into the freezer at gunpoint, saying he “would blow their brains out” if they tried to leave.

No one was injured during that robbery. The suspect fled on foot.

The June robbery of the Cash Express netted the suspect nearly $3,000. In that robbery, a lone gunman forced loan officer Kim Winkler to hand over the money, then forced her into the bathroom at gunpoint. She was not injured during the robbery.

Wagers was arrested and charged with these robberies Nov. 2 — Laurel County Detective Jason Back allegedly found Wagers hiding in the utility closet of a Hidden Acres Drive residence.

It was learned during Wagers’ December indictment that witnesses in that robbery, including close acquaintances and his own father, identified Wagers as the suspect by his demeanor, jewelry, clothing and voice.

Wagers was also handed a four-count indictment in Knox County in February.

He was remanded back into the WCDC, and transported back to the Laurel County Correctional Center, where he remains under a total of $151,000 in cash bonds. There are four separate cash bonds, three of them for $50,000 each, and one more for $1,000.