With her mother, father and grandmother in attendance, Tiffany Mayhew apologized and then listened silently for the judge to decide her fate.
Mayhew, 32, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of her involvement in a series of violent payday loan robberies in Rock Hill. She faced two counts each of armed robbery, criminal conspiracy and kidnapping.
Her co-defendant, Christopher Carleton Washington, 36, received a negotiated, 10 year sentence earlier this year.
Prosecutors say Mayhew and Washington were involved in armed robberies last year at four payday loan businesses in Rock Hill and Lancaster. All four robberies were similar, and the getaway car matched the same description.
The two schemed to rob check-cashing businesses with few employees and no glass between the cashier and the customer, assistant solicitor Chris Epting said.
Their final robbery was just before noon on Oct. 23, 2013 at the Advance Payday on South Cherry Road. Police say Washington entered the business wearing a mask and black coveralls, revealed a gun and demanded the cashiers put money in a black backpack. Then, he bound the clerk with zip ties.
At one point, Epting said, the clerk thought he was about to be executed on the spot.
Police were already in the area and chased the suspects’ car to the Citgo gas station near Winthrop University. Mayhew was identified as the driver.
Police recovered the cash, coveralls and the weapon used in the robberies, a BB gun that could be mistaken for a semiautomatic pistol.
The prosecutor said Mayhew and Washington, both from Kannapolis, N.C., robbed the quick cash businesses so Washington would have the money to pay alimony to his wife amidst a messy divorce.
In court, defense attorney Leah Moody claimed Mayhew recently had a baby and suffered postpartum depression at the time they planned the robberies. The depression “had some play into why she felt they could concoct this plan. She thought they could do this and that it was okay to participate,” Moody said.
The maximum penalty for Mayhew’s charges is 20 years. Judge Edward Miller agreed to six years since Mayhew was cooperative with police and prosecutors. She has remained in jail since her Oct. 23, 2013 arrest.
Her relatives sat in the back of the courtroom, quiet as the sentencing commenced.
Mayhew apologized in court, saying that she “made some bad choices” and just wanted to go home to see her son.
She faces sentencing for the Lancaster robberies at a later date.