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Two men plead guilty to attempted robbery

By Janice Gregorson

gregor@postbulletin.com

Two of three men accused of robbing a janitor who was taking a cigarette break outside the Galleria Mall in mid-May pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Ryan Robert Walters, 22, of Rochester, and Joshua David Green, 24, of Winona, pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated first-degree robbery charges. Under terms of the plea agreement, the prosecution amended the charge from first-degree robbery to attempted robbery. The prosecution also agreed to recommend prison sentences at the lower end of the sentencing guidelines. That means a sentence of 20 months for Walters and of 25 months for Green.

However, both defense attorneys say they will request downward departures. Sentencing hearings are set for Aug. 31 for Walters and Sept. 7 for Green.

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The two men, in separate court hearings before Judge Jodi Williamson, admitted going up to the victim and trying to get cigarettes.

Green said he punched the man in the face when he wouldn't give him a cigarette, then searched the man's pants but couldn't find a cigarette. The victim told police that the suspects demanded money but that he told them he didn't have any.

When one of the suspects tried to reach into the victim's pocket for his billfold, the victim tried to stop him. Then second suspect punched the victim in the face, and he fell to the ground. The victim said he got up and was again asked for money and again punched when he said he didn't have any. The victim yelled for security and police, and the suspects fled.

On Wednesday, Green told the judge this was "the dumbest thing I have ever done."

A third suspect, Danyelle Williams, 24, of Rochester, returns to court later this month for a settlement conference.

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