A Casper man on Thursday pleaded not guilty to two charges alleging he robbed a local restaurant and gas station in December. If found guilty, he could face life in prison.
Levar E. Thompson, 40, spoke in Natrona County District Court only to answer procedural questions and enter his pleas. He faces two counts of aggravated robbery with habitual criminal enhancements. Because he is alleged to have been convicted of three prior felonies, he could face life in prison on each count.
"Not guilty," Thompson said when Judge Catherine Wilking asked for his plea.
Thompson has lived in Casper for 10 years but is homeless, prosecutor Trevor Schenk said. Schenk said he thought a trial may run longer than the typical three days and asked for a conference to schedule the proceedings.
Prosecutors allege Thompson entered a Sinclair gas station at 12th and Melrose streets and brandished a gun around 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve. He robbed Wyoming Hot Wings two nights earlier, according to prosecutors.
Thompson was arrested in January outside of the Ramkota hotel on a warrant for failing to register as a sex offender. Police found an airsoft pistol as well as clothes and a mask matching those worn by the suspect in the gas station robbery, according to court documents.
Police began looking for Thompson in relation to the robberies after a man contacted Crime Stoppers saying he recognized the suspect in footage of the Dec. 29 armed robbery, the documents state. Police had previously said they thought the two robberies were connected.
When police asked about the gas station robbery, Thompson declined to speak and asked for a lawyer, according to court documents.
The gun was not fired during the robbery, which lasted a total of about 10 seconds, Sgt. Dan Dundas said on New Year's Eve.
Although public defender Curtis Cheney asked on Thursday for Thompson's bond to be reduced to $50,000, Wilking declined his request. The judge cited an additional charge for failure to register as a sex offender, Thompson's lack of fixed address and the habitual criminal charges in deciding to keep the bond at $250,000.
Thompson is being held in Natrona County Detention Center.
He is set to be arraigned March 13 on the charge of failing to register as a sex offender.