|Grand jury indicts on 15 felony robbery, assault and firearms charges|
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
Two Bassett men were indicted by a Franklin County grand jury Monday on 15 felony charges in the case of an armed robbery at a Ferrum residence on Jan. 7.
Charles Lawrence Gilmore, 31, was indicted on two counts of robbery, breaking and entering while armed with a deadly weapon, two counts of assaulting police officers, and four additional firearms charges.
Christopher Hardin Jr., 34, was indicted on two counts of robbery, breaking and entering while armed with a deadly weapon, and three additional firearms charges.
Although a lower court dismissed five of eight initial charges against the two defendants last month, Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Allen decided to present evidence to the grand jury on those eight charges, as well as additional felonies.
The charges against both men were the result of an armed robbery that progressed into a shootout with police officers at the residence on Prillaman Switch Road. During the incident, one suspect was shot and a deputy was injured by a bullet from an automatic pistol allegedly fired by the same suspect that barely missed his head.
During the preliminary hearing last month, the deputy, Sgt. Erik Mollin, testified that he suffered lacerations on his lip and chin, as well as two broken teeth and powder burns on his face.
One resident of the home, Christine Behrens, testified that she awoke a little after 10 p.m. to find a gun pointed in her face. The man holding the gun, whom she identified in court as "Charlie" Gilmore although he was wearing a ski mask at the time, asked her where her drugs were.
"He said, 'I know you have drugs and I want them now,'" Behrens said, and the gunman proceeded to reach into a small refrigerator in her bedroom and pull out two bottles of pills, oxycodone and Benedryl.
Behrens, who is a paraplegic, said Gilmore's girlfriend had been hired two weeks earlier as her aide. She testified that Gilmore had been at her residence on several occasions during his girlfriend's employment with her.
In addition to her medication, Behrens testified that the robbers took a pistol she kept by her bedside and her tablet computer.
At one point when the robber left her room to search for more drugs, she testified that she picked up her cordless phone and called police. She tried to hide the phone beneath the covers of her bed, but the second suspect came and took it from her.
Behrens also spoke of her roommate, Fred Bowles, who she said was also robbed of $2,200 he had in his wallet. Bowles was suffering from cancer and died several weeks after the incident.
Hardin was arrested near the scene about an hour after the incident. Gilmore, who was shot, was arrested following his release from a Roanoke hospital on Jan. 16.