Second of three charged in fatal shooting at Waukesha gas station sentenced to prison

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- The second of three people charged in connection with a fatal shooting at a Waukesha gas station that happened during an armed robbery in January of 2015 has been sentenced to prison.

Jerica Cotton

24-year-old Jerica Cotton in February pleaded guilty to an amended charge of armed robbery as party to a crime.

On Thursday, April 28th, Cotton was sentenced to serve eight years in prison and 10 years extended supervision.

Cotton was ordered to jointly pay more than $18,000 in restitution.

Darrin Malone

On April 21st, 29-year-old Darrin Malone was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison and 10 years extended supervision with credit for 421 days served after he was found guilty by a jury in February on one count of felony murder in this case.

Malone has a restitution hearing scheduled for July 7th.

Kenneth Thomas

The third person charged in this case, 21-year-old Kenneth Thomas, will be sentenced on May 4th. Thomas in February pleaded guilty to two amended charges: felony murder and armed robbery, repeater. Five other charges were dismissed.

On January 13th, 2015, two masked men robbed the Waukesha gas station near Whiterock Avenue and Moreland Boulevard. Prosecutors say one of them was Malone. They say the other was Kenneth Thomas -- who allegedly shot and killed the store clerk.

Malone was charged with felony murder even though he did not pull the trigger -- because someone died while a crime was being committed.

Jerica Cotton, the alleged getaway driver, was also initially charged with felony murder (as party to a crime), but she would eventually plead guilty to an amended charge.

Police say Malone went into the gas station on the night of the robbery/fatal shooting — following behind Thomas.

Armed robbery/shooting at Waukesha Citgo gas station January 2015

Saeed Sharwani (Photo: Waukesha PD Facebook page)

According to the criminal complaint, Malone supplied the masks that were used in the crime. Thomas told police “Malone was behind him (when they walked into the gas station) and that the clerk started freaking out and so did he. Thomas stated that the clerk ran out as he climbed over the counter. Thomas stated that the clerk then came around and grabbed him and the next thing he knew, the gun went off.” The complaint indicates that Malone asked Thomas “if he did it on purpose and Thomas said no.”

Police arrested Thomas, a convicted felon, in West Allis less than 10 hours after the shooting. Cotton was also quickly apprehended. Darrin Malone, however, was on the run until February 23rd, 2015 — more than a month after the shooting.

Police believe Thomas and his accomplices were involved in at least six robberies in four jurisdictions. Their crime spree touched the communities of West Allis, Milwaukee, the Town of Brookfield and the city of Waukesha.