Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 5, 2013

Robber with machete sentenced

GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A man who tried to rob a Bluefield restaurant with a machete was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison.

Byron Thomas Blackburn, 36, of Bluefield appeared in Mercer County Circuit Court before Judge William Sadler for sentencing, said Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash. Blackburn’s first opportunity for parole will come after he serves 10 years behind bars.

Blackburn had been arrested by Bluefield Police on unrelated charges when he was questioned in early December 2011 about the Nov. 28, 2011 armed robbery of the Wendy’s on East Cumber-land Road. Detective B.L. Hamm of the Bluefield Police Department said at the time of the arrest that Blackburn confessed to the robbery attempt. He was later charged with robbery.

A surveillance video shot at the restaurant recorded a man wearing a toboggan over his head and a bandanna over his face. He threatened the employees with a machete, but failed to get any money when the clerks fled from the counter area. No customers were present at that time.

Blackburn fled the restaurant on foot. No injuries were reported.

Numerous people called the Bluefield police after the video was aired and said that Blackburn was the suspect due to his mannerisms, the way he walked and portrayed himself, Hamm said then.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler represented the state during the hearing Friday.