Seven-year sentences recommended for two more in Little Caesars armed robbery

Brianna+Dotson+sits+alongside+her+defense+attorney%2C+Amy+Otto%2C+while+the+state+presents+the+facts+of+the+case.
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Seven-year sentences recommended for two more in Little Caesars armed robbery

Brianna Dotson sits alongside her defense attorney, Amy Otto, while the state presents the facts of the case.

Brianna Dotson sits alongside her defense attorney, Amy Otto, while the state presents the facts of the case.

Christine Holmes

Brianna Dotson sits alongside her defense attorney, Amy Otto, while the state presents the facts of the case.

Christine Holmes

Christine Holmes

Brianna Dotson sits alongside her defense attorney, Amy Otto, while the state presents the facts of the case.

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

Two additional people have pleaded guilty to their part in the aggravated robbery of the Little Caesars on Maple Avenue from last May.

Briana Dotson and Corey Sowers both pleaded guilty to similar charges Monday afternoon in the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas after being involved in a five-person group that planned and executed a robbery.

Dotson, 19, is accused of helping plan and run through various scenarios prior to the incident taking place. She also connected her boyfriend at the time, Timothy Tipton, who physically went in to rob the establishment, with Cody Belcher, the driver, and Justin Trago, who allegedly was the second male to go into Little Caesars with Tipton, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gerald Anderson said in court.

Dotson pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery and two counts of kidnapping, all first-degree felonies, as well as safecracking and theft of less than $1,000, a fourth-degree felony and a first-degree misdemeanor, respectively. On her first count of kidnapping, Dotson also pleaded guilty to one firearm specification, which carries a mandatory three-year prison sentence in addition to other prison time.

Sowers, 22, was an employee at Little Caesars at the time of the robbery and is accused of helping plan the robbery and organizing the operation internally prior to the others arriving, Anderson stated in court.

Sowers also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery and two counts of kidnapping, all first-degree felonies, as well as tampering with evidence — a third-degree felony — safecracking — a fourth-degree felony — and theft of less than $1,000 — a first-degree misdemeanor. On his first count of kidnapping, Sowers also pleaded guilty to one firearm specification, which carries a mandatory three-year prison sentence in addition to other prison time.

Christine Holmes
Corey Sowers stands alongside his defense attorney, Jeff Blosser, while Judge Kelly Cottrill reviews the charges.

During both Dotson’s and Sower’s plea hearings it was stated that on May 12, 2018, two men, later identified as Tipton and Trago, are accused of entering Little Caesars wearing dark clothing and bandannas on their faces and pointing a gun at the clerk while demanding to have a manager open the safe.

The manager then came from the back of the restaurant to the front, opened the safe and gave the men the cash inside. The duo then demanded the drawers to the register be opened and additional cash was stolen before they fled from the establishment toward Military Road.

Discarded clothing, hats, bandannas and trash bags were later collected and DNA from the bandanna connected Tipton to the robbery.

Additionally, the clerk and manager told police they had recognized the voice of the man demanding money during the robbery and thought it was odd that the person knew exactly where the safe was kept.

Tipton had previously been an employee at Little Caesars.

During the time of the robbery, Sowers, who is accused of being involved in the planning process, was in the bathroom.

Anderson also stated that both Sowers and Dotson admitted to their participation in the robbery.

Joint recommendations from the state and both Dotson’s and Sower’s defense attorneys requested seven-year sentences.

Dotson’s bond was continued as set at $500,000 pending her sentencing.

Sowers’ bond was also continued as set at $100,000 pending his sentencing.

All others involved in the case:

  • Timothy Tipton — pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Story here.
  • Cody Belcher — pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Story here.
  • Justin Trago — pleaded not guilty at arraignment and is scheduled for trial on May 11 given that he does not take a plea prior to trial.