Goshen man arraigned in cabbie robbery case
GOSHEN – A Goshen man pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to using a box cutter to rob a cab driver in the City of Middletown.
Jerry Powlus, 41, was arraigned in Orange County Court on an indictment charging him with first-degree robbery, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and attempted second-degree burglary, felonies; and misdemeanors including second-degree menacing and resisting arrest.
Officials say that on Aug. 21, on Wickham Avenue, Powlus put the box cutter to the victim’s throat, grabbing him by the arm hard enough to leave bruises. Powlus stole cash and the victim’s wallet, officials said.
Prosecutors say when police caught up with Powlus the following day, he fled, threatened to kill the officers, and tried to force his way into a home to escape arrest.
Powlus has been jailed without bail since his Aug. 22 arrest.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Clark asked Judge Nicholas De Rosa to set bail at $75,000 cash or $250,000 bond. Powlus has three prior felony convictions for which he served prison time: a 1995 marijuana sale; a 1998 first-degree assault, for which he was sentenced to nine years in prison; and a 2012 grand larceny that drew a sentence of one and a half to three years.
Because of his record, with any felony conviction in the case, the court could rule Powlus a persistent felony offender, with a minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
Clark noted that, because of Powlus’ prior convictions and because the victim was a taxi driver, a conviction on the first-degree robbery count would carry a minimum sentence of 11 years in prison.
Powlus’ lawyer, Natasha Turner, told the judge she would make her bail arguments later. She was appointed to the case Wednesday morning.
De Rosa set bail at $50,000 cash or $250,000 bond. Powlus remains jailed until his next court date on Nov. 4.