A 21-year-old Lawrence man entered a no-contest plea Friday in connection with a December robbery at Walmart, 3300 Iowa.
Prosecutors had accused Andrew Dean Schmutz of serving as a lookout as co-defendants William O. Paterson and Lonnie Schaefer robbed Walmart’s money center the night of Dec. 13. Prosecutors also accuse Schaefer of taking part in a failed scheme to try to set fire to the roof of McDonald’s, 1309 W. Sixth St., to create a diversion for the robbery. The damage to the roof was only minor.
Schmutz entered the plea Friday afternoon deciding not to contest the conspiracy to commit robbery charge, and assistant district attorney James McCabria said he would recommend Schmutz serve 18 months on probation instead of 24 months in exchange for testimony against any co-defendants.
Prosecutors are presenting evidence against Schaefer, 22, of Lawrence, Friday at a preliminary hearing because he faces charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated arson and two conspiracy counts.
Paterson, 19, pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated arson. He said he pointed a plastic BB gun at a clerk to steal the money, and he’s scheduled to be sentenced July 1.
Three other co-defendants, Jadin Schmutz, 20, Nathan Todd Moses, 30, and Billie Jean Jessup, 20, face conspiracy to commit robbery charges and are also accused of serving as lookouts.
Jadin Schmutz testified Friday that she heard Schaefer talk about the plan to rob Walmart. She said she overheard him talking about how he failed to set McDonald’s on fire and that he directed her and her husband to a lookout post south of Walmart during the alleged robbery.
Jadin Schmutz also testified that, after the alleged robbery, Schaefer and Paterson showed up at her apartment and gave an envelope with $500 inside to her husband.
“He said, ‘Merry Christmas,’” she said.
Malone has scheduled an Aug. 12 sentencing for Andrew Schmutz, who remains free on bond. Malone will continue hearing evidence in Schaefer’s preliminary hearing July 7.