Duluth man sentenced for Superior armed robbery

A Duluth man who robbed a Superior bar at gunpoint in January will spend the next eight years in prison. Anthony David Davis, 44, pleaded no contest last week in Douglas County Circuit Court to one count of armed robbery stemming from the inciden...

Anthony David Davis

A Duluth man who robbed a Superior bar at gunpoint in January will spend the next eight years in prison.

Anthony David Davis, 44, pleaded no contest last week in Douglas County Circuit Court to one count of armed robbery stemming from the incident at Champions Lounge.

Judge Kelly Thimm accepted a joint recommendation from District Attorney Dan Blank and defense attorney Lance Nelsen for a 20-year sentence with eight years in prison and 12 years of extended supervision. Davis was ordered to pay about $3,500 in restitution and have no contact with the business or the victim.

Davis addressed the court prior to sentencing on Friday.

"I just want to say, I apologize to the victims," he said softly. "This is a direct result from a relapse of drugs."


Davis man said he had been sober for four years, but recently began using again. When he gets involved in drugs, Davis told the court, he is the direct opposite of himself, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

Davis' criminal record stretches back more than a decade, including 10 prior convictions and a past four-year prison sentence for a 2002 robbery with threat of force in Douglas County.

"I would say the single motivator for all his offenses is the need for drugs," Nelsen said. He told the court that, sober, Davis has been a reasonable, thoughtful client who feels bad for what he did.

"The bottom line is he wasn't thinking straight," Nelsen said. "He's here to take his lumps."

In accepting the joint recommendation, Thimm said Davis didn't seem like the kind of person who would commit repeat robberies. Davis showed he felt bad for what he did, the judge said, and "fessed up."

According to the criminal complaint:

Davis entered the bar on Belknap Street shortly after 11 a.m. Jan. 14, pointed a black handgun at a co-owner behind the bar, and told her to give him the money. He also asked for the pull tab money and opened drawers to grab money. He then left through the back door. Video surveillance showed him running from the area.

The 20-year sentence will run consecutive to a jail term Davis is serving for a 2014 conviction for theft and possession of methamphetamine.


Series of armed robberies

"We went through a bad stretch last year with armed robberies," Blank said. In addition to the Champions robbery, a Subway shop was robbed on Dec. 1 by two males with a machete, and a lone gunman robbed Krist Oil and the Super 8 motel in March.

One of the suspects in the Subway robbery also appeared in court Friday. Michael Jae Turnage, 17, faces charges of party to armed robbery, theft, intimidation of a victim, criminal damage to property, carrying a concealed weapon and resisting/obstructing an officer.

Blank and public defender Leslie Dollen put forward an April plea agreement for Turnage that would have involved two years of probation and nine months in jail for two of the misdemeanor counts and a deferred judgment of conviction for the armed robbery charge. The felony charge would have been dismissed after five years of good behavior.

Dollen said Turnage was the antithesis of what she expected.

"It's been hard for me to get my head around this case; how he got involved, I don't understand," she told the court. "He's young; young people do stupid things without thinking about the consequences."

She said the agreement was in recognition of Turnage's youth, naivete and "sheer stupidity of action."

But Thimm rejected the offer, noting the seriousness of the crime. Turnage planned the robbery, the judge said, and he could not accept a non-felony disposition. So Dollen and Blank began hammering out a new agreement.


"We've had some back and forth, I think we're zeroing in on a hopefully acceptable resolution," Blank said.

Turnage's next court appearance was set for July 14.

The man accused of committing a string of armed robberies across Northwestern Wisconsin in March that included the Superior Super 8 Motel and Krist Oil incidents, Joseph G. Cobb, 26, of Lac du Flambeau, pleaded no contest on June 2 in Sawyer County Circuit Court to one count of armed robbery, according to online court records. Sentencing is scheduled for July 29.

Cobb also is facing one count of armed robbery in Ashland County Circuit Court. No charges have been filed against Cobb in relation to the Douglas County robberies.

Armed robbery carries a maximum penalty of 40 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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