Man pleads not guilty to robbery, assaulting store clerk with hammer

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A 21-year-old Texarkana man accused of robbing a local convenience store with a juvenile accomplice and a hammer in January, pleaded not guilty this week in Miller County.

Devin Javon Whitaker and a 15-year-old juvenile were arrested following an attempted robbery Jan. 26 of E-Z Mart on Jefferson Blvd. in Texarkana, Ark. The juvenile allegedly entered the store at about 1:30 a.m. wearing a shiny metallic mask and black clothing while armed with a hammer. The clerk, who was struck with the hammer, managed to chase off his attacker and suffered only minor injuries, according to a January press statement from Texarkana, Ark., police.

After the incident, police posted photos of the robber and of a man who entered the store and left less than a minute before the robbery, on social media. Members of the public contacted police with the men’s identities and Whitaker and the juvenile were arrested in early February at a Texarkana apartment complex. Because of his age, the juvenile’s name has not been released.

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Whitaker has been charged with aggravated robbery and second-degree battery. Aggravated robbery is punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison. Second-degree battery is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Whitaker’s bail is set at $100,000.

Whitaker appeared with public defender Matt Stephens for arraignment Tuesday before Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson and entered a not guilty plea to the charges. Johnson scheduled Whitaker to return to court for a pretrial hearing April 18.
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