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Man sentenced to 20 years in prison on robbery, burglary charges

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A 19-year-old Hot Springs man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to residential burglary and aggravated robbery stemming from separate incidents in 2016 and 2018.

River Joe Williams, who lists a Lookout Point address, pleaded guilty in Garland County Circuit Court to residential burglary and was sentenced to 20 years, and to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 10 years, with the sentences to run concurrently.

Court costs were expunged for time served, but restitution to the victim in the burglary was ordered in an amount to be determined. Additional felony counts of aggravated residential burglary, aggravated robbery, theft by receiving more than $5,000 and theft of property more than $1,000 were withdrawn by prosecutors.

According to the probable cause affidavit regarding the aggravated robbery, a local couple reported that around 3 p.m. on April 18, 2016, two unknown white males forced their way into their residence on Highway 290. They noted one man was armed with a handgun and pushed both of them onto the floor, causing bruising and soreness.

Once inside the residence, the two suspects removed money, two handguns and the victim's wallet before fleeing.

On June 15, 2016, Hot Springs Village Police Sgt. Jack Hendon and Officer Grant Hodges responded to a reported break-in on Tistaban Lane in Hot Springs Village and subsequently pursued a fleeing Ford F-250 pickup truck that was leaving the scene.

The officers stopped the truck at the dead end of Costa Lane and saw two males running away. One of the males, later identified as Williams, came back to speak with the officers. It was determined the truck had been stolen from the driveway of another Hot Springs Village resident, so Williams was taken into custody.

On June 28, 2016, Garland County sheriff's investigators questioned Williams, then a juvenile, with his mother present and he admitted to taking part in the armed robbery on April 18. He admitted he took the two handguns and that he accidentally ran through a glass door when fleeing the residence.

He was charged with multiple felony counts that same day and remained in custody until May 24, 2017, when he was released on $50,000 bond pending trial.

According to the affidavit regarding the residential burglary, on Feb. 24, 2018, shortly before 12:30 p.m., a resident of Mimosa Point reported a break-in to his house. He noted someone had used a cinder block to break the glass on a sliding-glass door to gain entry.

The victim said about $1,575 worth of items were removed from the residence. Investigators obtained security video which showed two males making entry to the house, Investigator Charles Mowery recognized one of the suspects as Williams due to past interactions with him.

William was arrested Feb. 27, 2018, on burglary and theft charges and released later that day on $7,500 bond. On April 16, 2018, he failed to appear at a scheduled hearing and a bench warrant was issued. He was arrested April 23 and had remained in custody since then on zero bond.

Local on 05/16/2018

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