SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 1, 2014

Man gets five years for gas station holdup

PEABODY — A Peabody man was sentenced to five years in prison yesterday, shortly after a Salem Superior Court jury found him guilty of robbing a Peabody gas station last year.

John Doucette, 24, was charged following an investigation into the April 8, 2013, holdup at Holden Oil on Lynnfield Street.

Doucette, who was a friend of an employee, had been in the gas station about 10 minutes before the holdup, purchasing a small amount of gas, according to the clerk, who was vacuuming at the time.

Then, a man, described as wearing black clothing and a mask over his face, entered the station demanding money.

The holdup netted the robber a little over $500.

Doucette’s attorney, Mark Miliotis, argued that the robber wasn’t Doucette, questioning the evidence linking his client to the crime — including the then-16-year-old clerk’s recollection that the robber’s voice sounded similar to Doucette’s, and the observation by police investigators that Doucette and the robber were wearing the same type of designer jeans.

Miliotis argued prior to the trial that the clerk’s identification of Doucette’s voice was somewhat equivocal and that it should not be allowed to be heard by jurors.

But Judge Howard Whitehead disagreed, finding that the issue was one for the jury to decide.

Prosecutor Christina Ronan argued that Doucette was the robber based on all of the evidence. The jury, after hearing from the clerk, police officers and the store’s owner, among other witnesses, agreed.

Because he was sentenced to state prison, Doucette, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, will have to serve the full five-year term.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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