Two charged in weekend armed robbery had previous robbery, kidnapping convictions

photo by: Mike Yoder

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St.

A man and woman have been formally charged with aggravated robbery following a reported attack on a man this weekend in Lawrence. Both have prior felony convictions here.

Lawrence residents Runita J. Bell, 44, and Robert L. Coleman, 25, allegedly were armed with a knife when they took a man’s backpack containing a phone and clothing, according to complaints filed Monday in Douglas County District Court.

Bell also is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a felony. Coleman also is charged with battering the robbery victim, a misdemeanor.

Both made their first appearances in court Monday, where they were appointed attorneys, according to court records. Bell was released on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond, and Coleman remained jailed on $25,000 bond Tuesday.

Just after 6:15 p.m. Sunday, Lawrence police responded to the 1800 block of West 25th Street, where the victim reported being attacked outside by two suspects who tried to stab him with a knife.

The suspects, with whom he was acquainted, then stole his backpack, which had been dropped during the altercation, police said previously.

The victim was not stabbed, but suffered minor injuries during the fight. The suspects were located and arrested later Sunday.

Bell was convicted of conspiring to commit kidnapping in 2007, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records.

That case involved a crack cocaine deal, according to Journal-World reports from the time. Bell and two co-defendants allegedly held three women and two small children against their will in an apartment, and one victim testified that Bell repeatedly struck her hands with a meat tenderizer during the ordeal.

Coleman was convicted of aggravated robbery in 2013, according to KDOC records. In the same case he also was convicted of possession of drugs, a misdemeanor.

Coleman and two other suspects used a BB gun to commit a robbery at a Lawrence apartment, stealing $260 in cash, a television, a PlayStation gaming system, and a jar containing 6 grams of marijuana, the Journal-World reported. State sentencing guidelines called for prison but a judge granted him a departure, and he was placed on probation instead.

photo by: Kansas Department of Corrections

Runita J. Bell

photo by: Kansas Department of Corrections

Robert L. Coleman

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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