CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Carolyn Nichols said when she heard that her grandchildren were accused of being behind the armed robbery of a grocery store and the shooting of the store clerk, she fell to her knees.
“I just started praying for the woman to live — God please let her live and be all right and recover,” she said.
Her grandson, John Proctor III, 18, allegedly shot store clerk Shawna Sampson when he and a 17-year-old juvenile identified only as “L.L.” were robbing the Kanawha City Foodland.
The store owner said last week that Sampson was out of the hospital.
Nichols’ granddaughter and John’s sister, Alisyn Proctor, 19, along with Telisa McCauley, 23, allegedly had a getaway car ready after the robbery.
In the three weeks since, police have arrested all individuals allegedly involved, including Ricky Patterson, 18, and another 17-year-old, identified only as “B.W.”
They allegedly cased the scene before the robbery to make sure the safe was open and to check for police.
Nichols said she wanted to reach out and extend the family’s sympathies to Sampson’s loved ones.
“We’re very, very sorry that it happened,” she said.
She also wanted to correct an earlier report that all the suspects are related. Nichols said John and Alisyn Proctor are not related to the other suspects.
Her grandchildren each could face more than 10 years in prison if convicted on first-degree robbery charges.
“We’re really devastated, you know, for both of them,” Nichols said. “They are so young.”
She repeated several times that her grandson said he changed his mind at the last minute but was pushed through the door, and that she believed other parties were bad influences on her grandchildren.
“He’s very, very sorry about what happened,” she said. “He said, ‘It was stupid and crazy, Mamaw’ … This is out of John’s character.”
Nichols also wanted to point out that her grandson had owned up to the crime.
Meanwhile, Alisyn Proctor posted “#notguilty” on her Facebook page on Tuesday.
Nichols said she remembered feeling closer to her grandchildren at Christmastime, before her granddaughter had met McCauley.
Alisyn Proctor and McCauley’s Facebook pages list the two of them as in a relationship.
Nichols said her granddaughter became involved with McCauley in February or March, then John Proctor III started spending time with the two as well.
“Ever since Alisyn met her, the family saw a difference in Alisyn,” Nichols said. She has highly influenced Alisyn.”
Alisyn Proctor and McCauley took off for Florida and attempted to start a new life after the robbery, police have said.
“Ever since Alisyn started running around with that girl it has been nothing but bad, and we’ve known it, but we’re very, very sorry about what happened to that woman,” Nichols said.
Reach Erin Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-5163 or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.