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Posted on: June 16, 2023

Commonwealth v. Andre L. Lewis Sr.

Norfolk Man Sentenced to 2 ½ Years for Ghent Robbery and Attempted Robberies

NORFOLK, Va. – Andre Lamar Lewis Sr., 57, was sentenced Friday to two and a half active years in prison for attempting to rob a Ghent bank teller and robbing a cashier at a nearby 7-Eleven in 2022.

The morning of July 12, 2022, Mr. Lewis, who has a long history of mental illness, went into the Truist Bank at 2200 Colonial Ave. Mr. Lewis took one of his own pay stubs, wrote on his pay stub, "This is a robbery," and handed the note to the teller. The teller alerted her manager and pressed a panic button, and Mr. Lewis left the bank without taking anything.

About 20 minutes later, Mr. Lewis entered the 7-Eleven at 1713 Colley Ave., picked up some beer cans, went to the checkout counter, and demanded that the cashier give him all the money from the register. Mr. Lewis left the store after the cashier handed him $49 cash. In a third incident from the same day, Mr. Lewis entered the 7-Eleven located at 1510 Brambleton Ave. and went behind the counter searching for money. He threatened a store clerk when she attempted to stop him but ultimately left the store empty-handed.

On Feb. 2, 2023, Mr. Lewis pleaded guilty to both attempted robbery and robbery, and Judge Robert B. Rigney accepted his plea. On Friday, Judge Rigney sentenced Mr. Lewis to an active sentence of two years and six months years in prison. At sentencing, the parties noted the trauma to the victims, Mr. Lewis' long history of mental illness, and Mr. Lewis' remorse for his behavior.

"When mentally ill people victimize people, we must hold them accountable, and here we have balanced the aggravating and mitigating evidence to do so," said Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi. "But our leaders must do more to provide services and support for mentally ill people so that they can receive treatment before their conduct hurts others and requires them to go to prison. Our country can do better than this."

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ethan W. Smith prosecuted Mr. Lewis' case on behalf of the Commonwealth.

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