The criminal case against the alleged mastermind of a staged robbery at a north Corbin gas station is headed to the grand jury.
Laurel District Court Judge John Chappell found probable cause to send the case against 29-year-old Christopher Mason on to the grand jury.
Mason is scheduled to appear in Laurel Circuit Court on January 20 for the return of indictments.
Judge Chappell amended Mason’s bond from $100,000 cash to $50,000 cash.
Mason was arrested December 7 at the same time Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies arrested co-defendant Charlene Jackson/Masters at a residence off of American Greeting Card Road.
Mason was initially charged with several drug-related offenses in connection with a clear baggie of a substance determined to be crystal methamphetamine, a quantity of prescription drugs, marijuana and a sum of cash they found at the residence.
Upon further questioning, Mason was charged in connection with the robbery, which occurred on November 30 at the Marathon gas station off of Exit 29.
According to Sheriff John Root, deputies have charged Mason with one count of first-degree robbery.
“He was the planner and drove the car,” said Deputy Gilbert Acciardo, the department’s public affairs officer, when asked what part Mason allegedly played in the robbery.
When asked how deputies connected Mason to the robbery, Acciardo would only say it was through the course of the investigation.
According to Sheriff Root, Mason and the third suspect, 19-year-old Daniel Cornelius, who allegedly committed the robbery, divided the stolen money.
Mason reportedly spent some of the money to buy clothing, a cap, a watch, food and hotel stays, Root stated.
“We have recovered some but very little of the money,” Acciardo said. “I think they spent a lot of it.”
Mason was charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance – methamphetamine, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance – drug unspecified, and possession of marijuana.
Mason is being held in the Laurel County Detention Center.
Cornelius remains on the run and deputies are asking for the public’s help to locate him.
Anyone with information concerning Cornelius’ whereabouts is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (606) 864-6600, or Laurel County 911 at (606) 878-7000. Callers may remain anonymous.
Acciardo said deputies have not received any information that Cornelius has fled from the area.
Root warns that citizens should consider Cornelius to be armed and dangerous.
Deputies were initially called to the store just after 6 a.m. on November 30 in response to a report that a man had robbed the store at gunpoint.
Deputies had been told that a lone gunman armed with a pistol had robbed the female attendant, later identified as Jackson/Masters, and then locked her in the cooler.
Jackson/Masters is also facing one count of first-degree robbery.
Acciardo said further investigation by detectives led them to charge Jackson/Masters.
“A robbery did occur,” Acciardo aid.
Under Kentucky law, first-degree robbery is a Class B felony, carrying a potential sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison.