Suspect in Bennett Valley jewelry heist pleads not guilty

  • A suspect is taken into custody after a robbery at Bennett Valley Jewelers on Yulupa Ave. in Santa Rosa, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (Beth Schlanker / The Press Democrat)

An Oakland man who was shot and injured in a botched armed robbery last month at a Santa Rosa jewelry store pleaded not guilty Wednesday to eight felony charges that could lead to a lengthy prison term.

Police said Jimmy Lee Terry Jr., 43, was one of two masked men who burst into Bennett Valley Jewelers on July 10 and held employees at gunpoint. He was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with the store owner, Ty Visscher, and arrested at the scene.

The other suspect escaped and remained at large.

Terry on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to two counts of robbery, two counts of assault with a firearm, kidnapping to commit robbery, attempted murder, participation in a criminal street gang and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Police said Terry grabbed a store clerk during the robbery, put a gun to her head and used her as a human shield.

He is expected to return to court Sept. 3 to set a preliminary hearing.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ppayne.

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