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Sandusky man pleads guilty to charges in robbery gone wrong

Jessica Cuffman • Oct 17, 2012 at 4:53 AM

Keith Alexander, 21, of Sandusky, has pleaded guilty to complicity to commit aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 11 years in prison, according to court documents.

In exchange, prosecutors dismissed a felonious assault charge and a gun specification, as well as agreeing not to present two other criminal cases to a grand jury.

Alexander will also have to testify against one of his co-defendants, Tion Swain, 23, who faces trial later this month.

Alexander and Swain were accused of helping Justin Stowers, 22, attempt to corner and rob a Cleveland man Jan. 9, after Stowers’ then-girlfriend, Ashlei Kimble-Palmer, 22, lured the man to Sandusky.

At trial in August, a jury convicted Stowers of complicity to commit felonious assault, complicity to commit aggravated robbery, and having weapons under disability. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Kimble-Palmer has been a key witness in the case.

In exchange for a recommendation from prosecutors that she only be sentenced to probation if she pleads guilty to a robbery charge, Kimble-Palmer agreed to testify against Stowers, Alexander and Swain.

At trial, she told jurors  Stowers set up the plan and asked her to bait one of her former customers, Derek Jackson, 41, to come to Sandusky so Stowers could rob him.

She knew Jackson from when she worked as a stripper in Cleveland, according to court testimony.  

Jackson also testified at Swain’s trial, identifying Kimble-Palmer as the woman who had set him up.

Once Kimble-Palmer got Jackson to drive her to the 600 block of Madison St., Alexander and Swain allegedly tried to trap him as he got out of his truck.

Alexander allegedly came from one direction, Swain from the other, both wearing masks and brandishing guns.

Stowers, convicted of setting up the robbery, was a few blocks away from the other three men when Alexander or Swain opened fire on Jackson.

Jackson was also carrying a gun that night. He fired back when Alexander and Swain tried to corner him, and he was able to get back to his truck and flee the area.

One of the bullets fired that evening struck Kimble-Palmer in the foot. When police brought her in for questioning a few days later, the bullet was still lodged in her foot.

Swain’s trial is set to start Oct. 23 and Alexander is scheduled for sentencing after that trial. Court dates for Kimble-Palmer’s case are being rescheduled.

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