The second of the three individuals involved in the death of a local gas station clerk during a botched robbery last year was sentenced to prison recently in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
Judge Lloyd Carter sentenced Jerica Cotton, 24, of Milwaukee to eight years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision for her role in the homicide during an April 28 sentencing hearing, online court records show. Cotton pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of armed robbery — even though she was not inside the gas station when the clerk was robbed and killed — in February in exchange for her testimony against Darrin Malone, one of her co-defendants in the case.
Cotton received 469 days credit for time already served, according to court records. Carter also ordered her to jointly pay almost $19,000 in restitution to an insurance company. She began serving her time after the hearing concluded.
As conditions of her probation, Cotton was ordered to maintain absolute sobriety and is prohibited from contacting any members of Sharwani's family.
Cotton, Malone of Milwaukee and Kenneth Thomas of West Allis were charged in January 2015 with a host of felonies, including first-degree intentional homicide, in the death of 65-year-old Brookfield resident Saeed Sharwani, the clerk at the Citgo gas station at 1445 Whiterock Ave.
A criminal complaint said Cotton drove Malone and Thomas around Waukesha the evening Jan. 13, 2015 until they found the gas station, which Malone and Thomas entered wearing dark clothes and Halloween masks. Cotton, the getaway driver, waited nearby in the car.
Thomas ordered Sharwani at gunpoint to hand over money and jumped over the counter when he saw Sharwani drop some, the complaint said. Sharwani then confronted Thomas, which scared him, and Thomas said in the complaint that the gun in his hand 'went off.'
The bullet hit Sharwani in the chest and he died a short time later, but not before he was able to call police.
According to surveillance footage of the incident, Malone, who was unarmed, mostly stayed behind Thomas throughout the robbery.
Penalties for other defendants
All three defendants have been found guilty of crimes linked to Sharwani's death.
Malone was found guilty of felony murder by a jury in February and was sentenced April 21 to 25 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision.
Cotton and Thomas both agreed to testify against Malone as part of a plea agreement with the district attorney's office.
Thomas pleaded guilty Feb. 26 to felony murder and armed robbery. He could face decades in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 4.