LIMA — A Lima man who, along with two unknown accomplices, robbed a Lima taxi driver at gunpoint last fall was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.
Ronald McNeal IV, 27, accepted a deal from prosecutors in January that called for him to serve four years on an amended count of robbery, a second-degree felony that included a one-year firearm specification.
McNeal was indicted in November on a charge of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony that included a three-year firearm specification, and a fourth-degree felony count of failure to register as a sex offender. As part of the plea deal, the failure to register charge was dismissed.
McNeal apologized to the court and to the victim’s family prior to sentencing. He told Judge Jeffrey Reed he needed money to feed his girlfriend and her daughter when he agreed to participate in the robbery. He did not identify his accomplices.
A spokesman from Crime Victim Services relayed to the court a statement from the victim, in which he said the incident “has me always looking over my shoulder” in fear of the other two men, who remain at large. He also wanted to know of McNeal, “What does it feel like to be going to prison for nothing? You didn’t get anything” during the robbery.
According to court documents, law enforcement officials responded to the 1800 block of East Elm Street in Lima at approximately 12:15 a.m. on Oct. 4 in reference to a report of armed robbery. Deputies spoke with the victim, a cab driver with Black and White Taxi, who said he had been dispatched to the residence and waited for five minutes, but no one came out to the taxi.
The victim said as he was leaving, he observed someone standing behind a van parked nearby. The victim said he parked his taxi, and three males, all wearing bandanas and all pointing handguns at him, demanded money. They searched his taxi and eventually fled with his wallet and cell phone.
One defendant, later identified as McNeal, was tracked by a K9 officer. He was noted to be sweaty, out of breath and headed in the same direction as the suspects had been seen fleeing the area of the robbery.
McNeal also had outstanding warrants and attempted to flee once again as deputies attempted to take him into custody. Officers used a Taser to subdue McNeal. He was later found to be in possession of the cab driver’s cell phone and admitted his role in the robbery, according to court documents.