LOCKPORT – A Town of Lockport man, whose attorney called him “a seasoned user” of crack cocaine, pleaded guilty to two gas station robberies in Niagara County Court Tuesday.
Danny P. Merritt, 33, of Murphy Road, admitted to third-degree robbery in the May 5 theft of $65 from a Sunoco station at South Transit and Robinson roads, and attempted third-degree robbery for the June 26 robbery of the Sanborn Family Mart and Valero gas station, where $200 was taken.
County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III agreed to concurrent sentencing, meaning the most Merritt can receive is seven years in prison when he returns to court Oct. 15. In the meantime, he’s being held in lieu of $125,000 bail.
Assistant District Attorney Claudette S. Caldwell said both store clerks said Merritt told them he had a knife, although police found none. Merritt at first denied saying he had a knife, which irked Murphy. Defense attorney Sunil Bakshi had Merritt amend his statements after the guilty pleas were entered.
Bakshi said he would like to see Merritt have a chance at inpatient drug treatment, but Murphy said Bakshi would need to convince authorities that he would be no danger to the public.