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Purse snatcher receives 7-year sentence

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:25 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

One of the two women charged in three purse snatchings in Columbia last fall was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday.

Jessica L. Calton, 19, was arrested in September with Tiffany E. Shaw, 18. The two women, both of Columbia, were accused of assaulting and robbing three women downtown during two weeks in August.

Calton pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree robbery. She spent two months in jail and six months under house arrest, prompting her attorney, Gregory P. Robinson, to ask that she be given probation. He also added that she had taken it upon herself to return one of the stolen purses.

But Boone County prosecutor Richard Hicks suggested that Calton serve a seven-year sentence, and Judge Gary Oxenhandler agreed.

“You knew this was going to happen,” Oxenhandler said as Calton sobbed loudly in the courtroom. “You picked a person, and you punched her in the face.”

Oxenhandler recommended that Calton serve in the 559 shock incarceration program, which allows for her case to come up for probation after 90 days if she completes the program successfully.

Shaw, her accomplice, was sentenced on May 22 to five years’ probation and ordered to pay restitution.


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