KFC Robbery: Teens and Crimes
By: CJ Cassidy
Cape Girardeau, MO -Should teen offenders who commit adult crimes do adult time? It's an issue being debated in Cape Girardeau right now.
The Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor now hopes to put a pair of young armed robbers away for at least ten years, despite their age, but some folks say they don't agree.
"He said give me the money or I'll kill you. I felt so scared and nervous, and he put a gun behind my head," Dunia Posadas says. She was working the night of July 21st, 2005, when 16-year-old Semaj Lumas and 15-year- old Isaiah Lane robbed employees at the KFC Restaurant on William Street at gunpoint.
"He said if you don't get down on the floor I'll kill you, and I felt so nervous and scared and I prayed to God because I'm a Christian person and I say God please protect me, because I have two daughters and I have my family," Posadas says. She survived, and the teens who were charged as adults, have since pleaded guilty. Now Prosecutor Morley Swingle hopes a judge puts the pair away like adults, with a ten year sentence. "A message needs to be sent to the robbers in our community that it doesn't matter if you're a juvenile, if you're going to do a robbery with a gun you're going to prison," Swingle says. Despite the disturbing nature of this robbery, not everyone agrees. Steven Buhs, who works at the maximum security prison in Charleston hopes young offenders are given a chance to rehabilitate instead.
"If you put him in a structured environment where they learn something, discipline, respect for others and property, you might stand a chance of getting him out returning him back to society," Buhs says. Surprisingly enough, Dunia Posadas is also forgiving.
"Idon't feel good that they might be in jail for so long, if they can go out and people can talk to them and explain to them don't do that anymore. I'm not a mean person, I'm a good person, I don't know what they did the other night but I hope God helps them a lot," she says.
To give you an idea of how frightening the robbery was, no one who worked there that night works there anymore. Prosecutor Swingle says police are looking for another suspect, a man named Jimmy Walker.
Swingle believes he may have used the teens to do the crime, thinking they would get a lighter sentence. If you have any information about Walker please call the police nearest you.
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The deceased was a convicted felon who had several guns and often carried on his person. He had two domestic violence protection orders against him from two women in Indiana and Ohio.