A young Aiken man who caused an uproar when he allegedly stole money from cookie-selling Girl Scouts last year pleaded guilty in court on Thursday. But he is not facing a punishment for the cookie-related crime.
James B. Gomillion III, 18, of Aiken was charged with strong arm robbery for the March 2012 attack on the Girl Scout troop selling cookies outside the Walmart on Whiskey Road. However, that charge will not be prosecuted. Instead, he admitted a separate burglary charge and received a five-year Youthful Offenders Act sentence, suspended on two years probation and paying restitution of $932.
The sentence, Circuit Court Judge Robert Hood said, was allowing the young man to have his future in his own hands, with a stiff penalty if he breaks the law again.
“I’m putting this YOA over your head,” Hood said. “You’ve got the choice.”
Hood said the choice was to behave or the people at YOA are going to punish him.
The judge’s decision to give Gomillion a chance may have been aided by a positive assessment from law enforcement.
Assistant Solicitor Nick McCarley told the court that Aiken Department of Public Safety Investigator Margaret Moore said that the defendant “does have support and is salvageable.”
Some of that support was in court on Thursday.
The burglary happened in September, when electronics were stolen from an Aiken Road home in Graniteville.
The Girl Scout theft caused a stir in March.
Gomillion reportedly approached the girls outside the store around 5:45 p.m.
According to reports, he was wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajama pants, visible Batman underwear and a white shirt when he approached the girls.
He walked up to the table and appeared as if he might be interested in the cookies when he snatched the box from the hands of a 15-year-old girl, according to reports.