A liquor thief turned robber when he choked a Tacoma liquor store employee, shattering a bottle of stolen vodka during the scuffle, Pierce County prosecutors said.
Darryl Evell Leggett, 55, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, and 47-year-old Mark Anthony Davis, accused of helping him get away, is in jail with bail of $500,000.
Prosecutors said they asked for the high bail based on the pair’s criminal histories. Both have multiple felony and misdemeanor convictions.
Leggett has had 111 warrants issued for his arrest in the state over the years, prosecutor Hugh Birgenheier said Monday.
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Leggett pleaded not guilty Friday to first-degree robbery. Davis pleaded not guilty Friday to first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Their attorneys were not reachable Monday.
Charging papers give this account of the latest incident:
Leggett and Davis on Sept. 23 walked into the BevMo outlet in the 2300 block of South 23rd Street, where an employee recognized Leggett from a liquor theft earlier in the day.
The worker confronted him, and told Leggett to give back what he had taken earlier. Leggett advanced toward the employee, who put up his hands and said he didn’t want to fight. The worker said he only wanted the stolen booze returned.
Leggett grabbed the employee by the shirt, choked him and shoved him out the front door. A bottle of vodka fell from Leggett’s clothing and shattered when he started punching the worker in the neck.
The employee bear-hugged Leggett to restrain him, at which point Davis came out of the business and started scratching the worker’s forearms to free Leggett. The worker suffered minor injuries from the attack.
Davis and Leggett then ran to their vehicle but got stopped in traffic after leaving the parking lot. Officers approached the vehicle and arrested Davis and Leggett after pulling Leggett, who was driving, from the car.
Police found an unopened bottle of Jim Beam bourbon on the floor of the vehicle. Store employees said the pair had been hanging around the Jim Beam island earlier in the day, but couldn’t say for sure what had been taken, except for the vodka bottle that broke.
Leggett’s previous convictions include drug possession and attempted delivery, hit and run with injury, second-degree theft and second-degree attempted possession of stolen property and first-degree rendering criminal assistance.
He also was convicted of second-degree malicious mischief, first-degree reckless endangerment and violation of work release, according to Birgenheier and court records.
He has about 80 or 90 misdemeanor convictions, Birgenheier said.
Among Davis’ previous convictions are second-degree robbery, third-degree attempted assault, failure to register as a sex offender, felony harassment and first-degree burglary.
He also was convicted of attempted indecent liberties, taking a vehicle without permission and attempted second-degree burglary, according to court records and Birgenheier.