South St. Louis armed robberies suspect had history of gun violence

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 26, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 26 at 10:15 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The man accused of robbing and shooting three people in South St. Louis is behind bars.

Police say Vincent Newman took no mercy on his victims, even after they surrendered.

Newman’s court record shows he has been robbing people at gunpoint since he was 14.  He did it twice in 2005 then again as an adult in 2008.  Had a judge taken the state’s advice, Vincent Newman wouldn’t be free to hurt anyone else.

“People in the system have tried to get him to get him to turn around and to rehabilitate himself, but he has not taken those opportunities,” St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said.

‘Opportunities’ is the key word.  Newman, now 24, has had four chances, beginning with a slap on the wrist for two armed robberies he committed as a juvenile.  A January, 2005 robbery case was adjudicated and Newman was given “intensive supervision.” 

Apparently, it wasn’t intense enough.  In October, 2005, a second robbery case was also adjudicated in juvenile court.  That time around he was sent to a juvenile home.

Then, in 2008, when Newman was 18, he admitted to robbing a South St. Louis woman at gunpoint while she walked her dog.  That wasn't enough to keep him behind bars.

“We thought the appropriate sentence for that was 15 years; that’s what we thought was in the best interest of the community,” Joyce said.  “He received a three-year sentence and was back out at the time of this incident.”

The state argued that Newman had had his chance—twice as a juvenile—and clearly, didn’t learn from it.  But Judge Philip Heagney went light on him, believing his attorney that Newman was “young” and that he was “being accountable” by pleading guilty.

That may be so, but once his three years was up, Newman got out and got caught with drugs.  It should have sent him back to prison for violating his probation, but Judge Heagney gave him just 120 days in prison.

Newman got out October 6.  Eight days later police say he went back to his old ways—robbing people at gunpoint.

“Certainly it’s frustrating to us anytime we encounter individuals who we’ve personally known,” St. Louis Metropolitan Police Sgt. Chris Stamper said.  “It is frustrating to us, but that’s part of the job and that’s what we have to deal with.”

News 4 has covered nine of these armed robberies that have ended with victims getting shot in the past three weeks.  Newman is connected to three of them and maybe more.

So far, he’s charged with the robbery and shooting of a woman at Grand and Russell on Oct 16. 

Police plan to seek more charges against Newman for also holding up a couple at Grand and Shenandoah on Oct 14.  In that case, the couple was unloading a car when police say Newman approached, demanded their belongings, then shot at the man, striking him in the hand and leg.

Police also say Newman is responsible for robbing and shooting a Washington University Medical Student as she walked to her car near Cardinal Glennon Medical Center on October 24.

As the charges continue to pile up, so does the time Newman could serve in prison... so long as a judge agrees his crimes are ‘bad enough’ this time around.

 

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