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Man pleads guilty to Fredericksburg robbery

A Spotsylvania County man who terrified four people when he robbed them at gunpoint last year in Fredericksburg pleaded guilty to five felony charges Friday.

Niko Devron Ellis, 23, was convicted of three counts of robbery and two firearms charges in Fredericksburg Circuit Court. In exchange for the guilty pleas, prosecutor Alan Budny dropped multiple other charges.

Each robbery conviction carries a potential life sentence and the firearms convictions carry a mandatory eight years in prison.

Ellis will be formally sentenced July 11.

According to the evidence, Ellis had met one of the two female victims at the 7–Eleven on Dixon Street on Sept. 14. Later that evening, the young woman, another woman and two young men returned to the 7–Eleven, where they met up with Ellis again.

He convinced them to follow him to a party and the woman he’d met earlier rode with Ellis.

As they reached nearby Howard Avenue in Mayfield, the other victims saw Ellis pointing a handgun at their friend. The gun turned out to be fake, but the victims didn’t know that at the time.

Two other men ran out and joined Ellis, and the gun was pointed at the other three as well. None of the victims knew Ellis or the other robbers.

One woman tried to run but was caught by one of the other robbers. Wallets and cell phones were taken, most of which were never recovered.

As the robbers were leaving, one of the victims got the license number of the fleeing truck.

Police tracked the truck to a Caroline County woman who was associated with Ellis and later arrested Ellis in Caroline.

Budny said Ellis told police he sold one of the stolen phones and threw other property out of the window after driving off. He didn’t mention anything about the other robbers, Budny said.

One other man, James Edward Johnson Jr., was arrested in March in connection with the incident. He has a trial scheduled for July 9 in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.

The identity of the third suspected robber remains unknown. Attorney Darren Meyer is representing Ellis.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404