Second Sonic robbery suspect sentenced to 60 years

Published 2:57 pm Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The second suspect involved in the in the 2008/2009 Sonic robberies was sentenced to 60  years on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping.

The first of the robberies took place on Thanksgiving day 2008 at the Picayune Sonic. Months later, a second robbery took place at the Poplarville Sonic, on Jan. 2, 2009.

Both incidents had similar methods of operation; the suspects would wait until a restaurant employee went out the back door to take out the trash. The suspects then would use that employee to enter the restaurant, lock the employees in the restaurant’s cooler and take money from the restaurant.

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Locking the employees in the cooler led to both suspects, Palanstea Williams, then 19 years-old, and Jay T. Magee, then 20 years-old, not only being charged with armed robbery but also with kidnapping. Both Williams and Magee were from Franklinton, La., and both are suspects in a number of Sonic robberies in Louisiana.

Both suspects were caught after the Poplarville incident when a Poplarville police officer responded to a community complaint concerning the suspects’ vehicle being parked in their neighborhood. The responding officer found the vehicle unlocked with the keys inside, so he removed the keys and locked the vehicle. Williams and Magee later returned to find their getaway vehicle locked with no keys.

That same citizen then called the station to report that the two men had returned, and were attempting to pry the rear sliding window of the vehicle open. While they could not make entry through that window, there was enough room to put the deposit bag and money taken from the Sonic and the firearm inside the vehicle, which later turned out to be evidence against the two men.

Officers arrived on scene to find both suspects attempting to flee, Magee running into the woods and shedding his clothes. Magee was arrested a short time later. Williams was found later by a Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department deputy riding a stolen bike along U.S. 11. 

Williams entered a guilty plea on Jan. 21, to two counts of armed robbery. He later was sentenced to 25 years for his part in the crimes.

Magee’s case went to trial late in January and he was found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping for the Poplarville incident only. Assistant District Attorney Monya Creel Bryan said earlier that charges for the Picayune Sonic robbery are pending.

After being found guilty, Magee was sentenced to 40 years for armed robbery. Ten years were suspended . For the kidnapping charge Magee, received 30 years, with none of those years suspended. Both sentences will be served back to back, for a total of 60 years. According to court documents filed in Circuit Court, Magee will not “be eligible for parole, probation or early work release” due to the fact that the crime was committed with the use of a firearm.