Conoco bandit gets 40 years

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 30, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Former Concordia College student William Collins, who aided two of his fellow classmates in the robbery of the Conoco gas station at Broad Street and Highland Avenue last year, received a 40-year prison sentence Friday in Circuit Judge Jack Meigs’ courtroom.

Collins, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery first degree, said District Attorney Michael Jackson. In October 2006, Collins, Randall Brown and Willie Stallworth allegedly robbed the Conoco station on two separate occasions.

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The trio had been football players at Concordia’s Division II program – Collins was a defensive tackle, Brown, 23, was a cornerback and Stallworth, 19, was a wide receiver. Both Brown and Stallworth’s cases are still pending.

Collins acted as the driver when the robberies occurred on Oct. 12 and Oct. 26, and stayed in the car. According to police reports of the first robbery, Brown and Stallworth entered the station carrying a .380 and .45. They demanded cash from the register, which held more than $1,700, and fled.

The second robbery resulted in gunfire. Store clerk Robert Nichols contacted police shortly after 2 a.m. to report “two black males inside the store acting really suspicious.” Officers were en route to the station when Nichols called again and said he had been robbed and shot.

Officers discovered Nichols standing in the door with blood coming from his chest area. The robbery was captured on the station’s surveillance camera, showing one of the suspects fire at Nichols after an unknown amount of cash was handed over.

Nichols was hospitalized in critical condition and later discharged. Jackson said Nichols is still recovering from his injuries.

“We are going to keep sending these gunslingers to prison,” Jackson said. “The victim in this case is very fortunate he was not killed. These defendants should have been in school getting their lesson instead of terrorizing citizens.”