Stealing $89 could cost this man 80 years in prison

Robbed St. James store with BB gun

A Paradis man could potentially serve 80 years in state prison after he was recently found guilty of robbing a St. James Parish convenience store with a BB gun and coming away with $89.

The St. James Parish District Attorney’s Office is seeking that lengthy sentence for 32-year-old Maurice Honor under the habitual offender law. Honor was convicted on a charge of first-degree robbery May 17. The jury’s verdict came unanimously.

The habitual offender’s law allows prosecutors to obtain significantly longer prison sentences for people with prior felony convictions. Honor has multiple prior felony convictions, according to the St. James District Attorney’s office.

Without the habitual offender law, the first degree robbery carries up to a 40-year sentence. 23rd Judicial District Court Judge Jessie LeBlanc will hand down Honor’s verdict Aug. 13 and will make the decision as to whether he will be punished as a repeat offender.

St. James Parish District Attorney Ricky Babin said Honor has been arrested 15 times since 2003 and that this conviction is his fifth.

“He’s a career criminal, and we’re trying to get him off the streets,” Babin said.

Babin said his office rarely seeks to apply the habitual offender law, noting it typically comes into play five or less times a year out of thousands of felony arrests. But he said Honor’s case is one of the rare ones where he believes it’s a necessity.

“You’ve had 15 chances, and we’ve all had enough,” Babin said. “I don’t like to give that many years to anybody, but it’s a matter of public safety.”

According to the St. James Parish District Attorney’s Office, on Jan. 17 of 2016 Honor entered the Big River Store in Gramercy wearing a hoodie and mask, grabbed a store manager and held her at gunpoint, leading her to the cash register and demanding money. He then left the store on foot with approximately $89 in cash.

The store employee called 911 and told St. James detectives that another female subject had entered the store to use the restroom and that man who robbed the store immediately entered as she left. Not far away from the store, detectives soon found the female, 41-year-old Renee Shrake of Ama and learned she drove Honor to the scene, scouted the store prior to his entry and was supposed to drive him away — she did not, instead leaving the scene after noticing a nearby Sheriff’s deputy.

Detectives were able to find the mask and gun under the corner of a nearby home and identified the weapon as a BB gun. According to the district attorney’s office, Honor’s DNA was found on both the mask and gun.

Shrake pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first degree robbery and received a four year suspended sentence with credit for time served.

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