By Joe Johnson
A career criminal was sentenced to prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to robbing two Athens convenience stores last year.
As part of a negotiated plea, Moses Jerome Tidwell, 56, of Monroe pleaded guilty to hopping the check-out counter of Golden Pantry on North Milledge Avenue the night of April 7, 2020 and taking $300 from the register, and admitted to doing the same type of robbery nine days later at Golden Pantry on Atlanta Highway where he also stole cash from the register and took cellphones from two women.
He was arrested at a woman’s Walton County home on April 17, 2020, six days after police said he allegedly robbed a Dollar General in Monroe.
In accordance with the plea bargain, Clarke County Superior Court Judge H. Patrick Haggard sentenced Tidwell to five years in prison and three years on probation, according to the sentencing document.
While on probation, Tidwell will be barred from all Golden Pantry stores and must undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment.
Tidwell has served five state prison sentences since 1992, for convictions in multiple counties for offenses that include sudden-snatch and armed robberies, aggravated assault and possession of cocaine.
In a letter dated May 17 that Tidwell wrote from jail and was addressed to “Judge & DA,” the man took responsibility for his crimes in Athens.
He wrote that he came from a good family, completed high school, “But every since I tried crack co-caine at 24, I've been in and out of prison since I was 27. I always kept a job, but I struggle with this drug and I needs help. Prison has not been the answer.
“In this world I messed up my life. I wrote this because no public defender knows me to speak for me. This is my life. I’m ready for court to face my fate,” Tidwell wrote in the letter.
Tidwell on Thursday remained at the Clarke County jail, where authorities in Rockdale and Newton counties placed holds on his release due to pending robbery cases in those jurisdictions.