By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
ONEONTA — A Hayden man has pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for the armed robbery of a store nearly three years ago.
Thomas Richard Betts, 28, admitted to robbing the Dollar General store on Alabama 160 in Hayden on Nov. 15, 2010, just before closing time. Blount District Attorney Pamela Casey said that Betts forced two employees at gunpoint into an office and forced them to open the store safe, then stole more than $2,800. Betts then attempted to steal an employee's car for a getaway.
Betts was sentenced to 25 years in prison for first-degree armed robbery, plus a $1,500 fine, court costs and a victim's assessment fee.
In addition, Jennifer Finely Nix, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery for driving Betts to the scene and serving as his getaway driver afterward. Nix, also of Hayden, was sentenced to eight years and a $1,000 fine plus costs and fees.
The sentences were reached in accordance with a plea deal, and we handed down in Blount Circuit Judge Steven King's court.