Superior man gets 68 months for role in armed robbery of Duluth cab driver

Robert Norton spent 26 years as a cab driver in Duluth, but that came to abrupt end in October 2012 when he was robbed at gunpoint by two Duluth teens.

Robert Norton spent 26 years as a cab driver in Duluth, but that came to abrupt end in October 2012 when he was robbed at gunpoint by two Duluth teens.

"I had a job I loved and I can't do it anymore because of what happened," Norton told a judge Friday. "I'm never going to be able to drive a cab again."

Norton, 48, sat in a St. Louis County courtroom for the sentencing of a Superior man who was convicted in September of organizing the armed robbery.

Judge Dale Harris sentenced Dewaun Lee Timmons, 25, to concurrent 68-month sentences for his convictions on charges of aggravated first-degree robbery and aiding an offender. A jury found Timmons guilty Sept. 24.

Timmons will need to serve at least two-thirds of the term, nearly four years, before he is eligible for parole. The term is a guideline sentence as recommended by probation officers.


Timmons spoke briefly before sentencing, but he did not admit guilt.

"There's nothing I can do to change it," he said. "The jury found me guilty on both counts."

He also said he'd like to earn a college education and return to his family as soon as possible.

"I'd obviously like a shorter sentence, but I'm prepared to do what time I have," he said.

Timmons was convicted by a jury following a three-day trial, during which witnesses testified that he organized the Oct. 14, 2012, robbery.

The defendant coerced his cousin and another man into robbing the cab driver and then helped conceal the evidence, Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Rebekka Stumme said in arguing for the guideline sentence.

"He came up with the plan, told them what to do and gave them the gun," Stumme said. "He shared in the spoils of the robbery and hid the gun from police."

The two other defendants, Javontae Laquiel Harkins and Paul Joe Rowe, already have pleaded guilty and admitted to their roles in the robbery. Harkins, Timmons' cousin, admitted to firing a shot during the incident.


The cab driver told Duluth police that he picked up the two teenagers at the Holiday gas station at Central and Grand avenues on Oct. 14, and that they eventually told him to drop them off at First Avenue East and Eighth Street. He said the suspect later identified as Harkins pulled out a black handgun with a long barrel during the robbery. He also said that the suspect later identified as Rowe choked him.

Norton said he was able to break free, jump from his cab and start running. He looked back, saw Harkins and heard a shot. He said Harkins ran after him and said to give him the money or he would shoot. The driver said he grabbed some money from his pocket and threw it on the ground. Police officers interviewed two neighbors who said they heard the shot and saw a male running after the cab driver saying, "Give me your money or I'll shoot you."

Harkins received a sentence of 48 months in prison and agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of Timmons. Rowe was given a 50-month sentence.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
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