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Charleston man guilty of Putnam pizza robbery

By Staff reports

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- A Charleston man who was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison earlier this month for a series of robberies in Kanawha County pleaded guilty to another robbery in Putnam County Circuit Court on Friday.

DeSean Markeys Saunders, 31, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery, according to Putnam County assistant prosecutor Steve Connolly. He faces 10 years to life in prison and will be sentenced at 10 a.m. on Jan. 24.

On June 20, Morgan Vandergriff delivered pizza to Sable Point Apartments in Hurricane. When he knocked on the door, the woman inside told him she didn't order a pizza, according to a criminal complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court.

As Vandergriff was walking back to his car, Saunders approached and told him that the pizza was for him and his mother. Vandergriff followed Saunders to a stairwell, where Saunders turned around, put his hand in his pocket and told the deliveryman to put the pizza on the ground and empty his wallet.

Vandergriff, while emptying his pockets, pulled out a .38 caliber Derringer pistol and shot Saunders, who fled to an apartment in the complex, according to the complaint.

Later, police found Saunders hiding in a closet. Vandergriff identified him as the man who tried to rob him, the complaint states.

Earlier this year, Saunders pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree robbery for reportedly walking into Joli's gambling parlor in Nitro and demanding that the employees hand over their cellphones and any cash inside the building. Saunders left the business with more than $6,000.

Saunders also previously admitted to charges that he lured two pizza delivery drivers to apartments on the West Side. Once there, Saunders assaulted the drivers, and stole their money and their pizzas, according to previous media reports.


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