A Richmond man who pleaded guilty last month to robbing several check-cashing stores apologized for his crime Thursday in Madison Circuit Court.

Douglas Eugene Lynch, 34, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by Judge William C. Clouse.

Lynch pleaded guilty Sept. 2 to robbing Cash Express, Advance America Check Advance and Pay Day USA in three separate robberies between Dec.  23, 2009 and March 3.

Lynch said to the courtroom Thursday that he “would just like to apologize. ... I wish there was a way to rehabilitate. My excessive drug use I did was more than a habit, it was a disease,” he said. Lynch acknowledged that he had hurt many people by his actions, including his family.

“I’ve hurt my family especially, they’re probably hurting more than I am because of it (the crime),” Lynch said.

Clouse recommended that Lynch be granted inclusion into the Substance Abuse Program.

This program is open to men only and transports Kentucky inmates to a centralized area, where for 60 days, they are housed in a closed institution apart from most other inmates and undergo substance abuse counseling. Participation in the program is voluntary, and inmates must have a documented history of drug abuse to qualify.

Because Lynch committed a violent crime, under Kentucky law, he must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. This means Lynch must serve 12 and three-quarter years in prison.

Bank robbery sentencing

Also sentenced Thursday were; Darrell Moore, 22, of Miami, Michael Bernard Holton, also 22, of Pompano Beach, Fla. and Travis Antonio Strowbridge, 23, of Dubuque, Iowa. The men were sentenced for their role in robbing bank tellers as they were loading a Dubuque ATM Dec. 17, 2009.

On Aug. 30, Holton and Strowbridge entered Alford pleas to charges of receiving stolen property less than $10,000, a Class D felony. By entering an Alford plea, a defendant admits that enough evidence exists for prosecutors to convince a jury they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but, the defendant does not actually admit to the crime. It is legally considered a guilty plea.

Moore pleaded guilty Sept. 16 to facilitation to receiving stolen property more than $10,000, a misdemeanor.

Clouse sentenced Moore on Thursday to 360 days probation. Moore originally had been charged with a felony.

Brian Barker, Holton’s public advocate attorney, asked Clouse to consider probation. He said Holton is father to a two-month-old child, that his former employer had offered him a job and that Holton had completed three semesters of college at the University of Dubuque and that if released, he planned to return to school. Barker also said that Holton has “served one-third” of his sentence because he has been imprisoned for 10 months.

Clouse denied Barker’s request and sentenced Holton to three years in prison.

Tim Despotes, Strowbridge’s attorney, also asked Clouse to consider probation. He said that Strowbridge was one semester shy of earning a bachelor’s degree and that if probated, he would return to school.

Clouse also denied Strowbridge probation and sentenced him to three years in prison.

All three men were arrested Dec. 18 on Interstate 75 near Berea. A search of their vehicle yielded $45,000 in $20 bills.

Holton, Strowbridge and Moore all were originally charged with receiving stolen property greater than $10,000. Had they been convicted of that crime, they could have each faced up to 10 years in prison.

In addition, all three men faced charges of second-degree robbery in Iowa, but those charges were dismissed.

Emily Burton may be reached at eburton@richmondregister.com or at 624-6694. Follow Emily on Twitter at RR_EBurton@twitter.com.

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