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Jeannette market robbery 'lookout' freed

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A Jeannette man was set free Tuesday after serving nearly a year in jail for his role in the armed robbery of Antoniak's Market in Jeannette two years ago.

Nathaniel Crawford, 19, was sentenced to serve 11 12 to 23 months in jail and two years on probation for standing lookout as two other men barged into the neighborhood store, brandished guns and left with $71.

Crawford pleaded guilty in August to robbery and other offenses.

In court on Tuesday, defense attorney Owen Seman argued that Crawford, who had been in jail since his arrest on Dec. 11, 2011, learned his lesson.

“It was just flat-out stupid. Someone could have gotten hurt,” Seman said.

Westmoreland County Judge Debra Pezze rejected a request from the prosecution to have Crawford serve up to three years in jail. Pezze said Crawford, because of his age and no prior criminal record, did not deserve to be sent to a state prison.

After announcing the sentence, Pezze paroled Crawford.

“At this point, Mr. Crawford, you are a follower, and you followed the wrong people,” Pezze said.

Crawford's co-defendant, Eric Johnson, 20, formerly of Lancaster, pleaded guilty in March to robbery and was sentenced by Judge Al Bell to serve 18 to 36 months in prison.

Marielli A. McGowan, 22, of Jeannette, the third man police said was involved, is free on $50,000 bail awaiting trial, which is scheduled for January.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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