Rockport mother to serve 18 months for pharmacy robbery

By Juliette Laaka | Aug 25, 2014
Photo by: Knox County Jail Hillary Johnson.

Rockland — A 23-year-old Rockport mother pleaded guilty to robbing a Camden Rite Aid Pharmacy in 2011 and was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison Aug. 25 in Knox County Superior Court.

Hillary J. Johnson was charged with class B robbery in February 2014 by Camden Police after new information surfaced regarding the case.

Johnson robbed the pharmacy in December 2011 of four bottles of oxycodone, and threatened to use a gun if she was not given drugs, said a police affidavit.

When speaking with Camden Police Detective Curt Andrick, Johnson told him she had been a drug addict for six years but initially denied robbing the pharmacy after seeing a photograph of herself at the store during the robbery. She then became distressed and wanted to know who told on her. Johnson also said she was nervous about going to jail for a long time, said the affidavit.

Johnson told police she robbed the pharmacy because at the time she had the adrenaline to do it, but added she instantly regretted it.

Addressing the court Aug. 25, Johnson, now sober, and a mother of a two-year-old daughter, said she has worked to make positive changes and provide a good life for her child.

Johnson's daughter was born after the robbery, and has brought a new light into her life, she said.  "She's my world," she said, reading from a letter she wrote for the hearing, adding she can only work to make things better.

Justice John O'Neil said he believes Johnson is a decent person who made a mistake based on her previous drug addiction.

Judith Weisman, medical director of Colonial Management Group, the methadone clinic in Rockland, told the court Johnson has taken steps toward recovery, and has been a model patient, working to lower her dose and receive counseling. Weisman said Johnson came to the clinic voluntarily.

Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody asked the court to impose a seven-year sentence with all but two and a half years suspended, arguing that the sentence needs to be a deterrent for those considering committing a similar crime.

Attorney Justin Andrus, Johnson's counsel, sought a nine-month sentence, saying his client is not the same person who robbed the pharmacy nearly three years ago.

O'Neil said the three months Johnson has already served, coupled with the good time she may receive if she is productive in prison, she may be able to be released in ten months. He said the sentence can either be the 18 months imposed, or seven years on the installment plan, depending on Johnson's actions.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 .


Comments (1)
Posted by: Bridget & Richard Qualey/Stetson | Aug 25, 2014 20:59

Good for this young woman for turning her life around. I hope that she is able to stick to her guns and be the wonderful mother that it sounds like she is trying to be.

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