Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill man gets life in prison for robbery

BROOKSVILLE — A 25-year-old Spring Hill man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday night for robbing a lock-and-key store in a crime rampage that included several armed robberies in Hernando County and surrounding areas.

Timothy Gartner, who spent two years in state prison for previous convictions, was arrested in December 2007. Authorities initially took a different man into custody but began focusing on Gartner after he tried to use a stolen credit card at Lollipops, an adult entertainment spot in Hudson.

Prosecutors said Gartner was lingering in Spring Hill Lock & Key on Dec. 19, 2007, when he pointed a BB gun at Jean Stanonis and demanded money.

"He said give me the money or I'll kill you," Stanonis testified Tuesday.

Witnesses in two other Spring Hill robberies also testified during the three-day trial. Prosecutor Erin Daly said the witnesses, including five in the lock-and-key store, left no doubt Gartner was the robber.

"He is a very serious danger to the community," Daly said. "These crimes were extremely violent in the way they were carried out."

In closing arguments, public defender David Bauer sought to prove that witnesses misidentified Gartner, noting that none described the robber as having freckles or being over 6 feet tall. Gartner is listed as standing 6-feet-4 in an arrest warrant.

"If you believe the descriptions taken at the time of the offense," Bauer said, "then it can't be him."

The jury of five men and one woman took almost three hours to find him guilty.

Because Gartner had been released from prison in May 2007 and accused of committing another first-degree felony almost seven months later, Circuit Court Judge Jack Springstead had no choice but to sentence Gartner to life.

"The judge's hands were tied," Bauer said. "He had no discretion in this case."

Gartner previously was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a robbery in Pasco County. Two other robbery charges against him in Hernando were dismissed and he has been charged with a similar offense in Citrus County.

Spring Hill man gets life in prison for robbery 01/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 8:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  2. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  3. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  4. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  5. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.