SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who held up eight gas stations at gunpoint over a 48-hour period -- and was dubbed the "Sorry Bandit" because he apologized to his victims as he robbed them -- was sentenced Monday to 23 years and four months in state prison.
Ryan Tyler Morris, 32, pleaded guilty in March to eight counts of armed robbery.
Before he was sentenced, Morris told Judge Robert F. O'Neill that he was "appalled" by his actions and begged for mercy and a chance to become a productive member of society.
"That's not the man I am," Morris told the judge.
Defense attorney Melissa Trolla said Morris went into a prescription drug-induced spiral and "lost control" after the death of his father.
Trolla said Morris argued with his dad before he died and never got to make amends.
Deputy District Attorney Roy Lai said Morris used a loaded firearm and pointed it at his victims, but Trolla said it was unclear if the gun was loaded during the holdups.
The judge noted that even though the defendant's crime spree was "aberrant" behavior, the threat of great bodily harm was present for his victims.
"It's kind of a sad case," the judge told Morris, noting the defendant left the state after arguing with his father and was never able to get closure, even missing his father's funeral because he was in jail.
Morris' crime spree began with a robbery at a Mobil gas station on Rancho Penasquitos Road off Interstate 15 at 7:40 p.m. on Feb. 25, Lai said.
The defendant robbed USA Gasoline on Woodside Avenue near Winter Gardens Boulevard in Lakeside at 11:29 that night, and, just before midnight, held up a Shell station on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard at Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa.
Ten minutes later, police said, the defendant robbed a Chevron station just a few blocks away on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard near Interstate 805.
The next robbery was reported at the Chevron station on Balboa Avenue near Convoy Street at 12:23 a.m. About 1:40 a.m., Morris robbed a Chevron station on Carmel Mountain Road near Penasquitos Drive in Rancho Penasquitos.
Just before 2 a.m., Morris held up an Arco station on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard off state Route 163 in Kearny Mesa. The final robbery took place about 7:45 p.m. on Feb. 27, Lai said.
The defendant was arrested and booked into jail Feb. 28.
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