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Salt Lake City robbery suspect expected to accept plea deal

Published March 14, 2013 4:16 pm

Courts • Sandra Chotia-Thompson could be facing more charges in other heists, prosecutors say.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A woman accused of robbing a Salt Lake City store last month is expected to accept a plea deal from prosecutors that ultimately could mean less time behind bars.

Sandra Chotia-Thompson waived her right Thursday to a preliminary hearing where prosecutors would have presented evidence to demonstrate probable cause in the Jan. 9 robbery of The Grocery Store, 1224 S. 400 East.

Chotia-Thompson told 3rd District Judge Vernice Trease that she was waiving because negotiations with prosecutors are ongoing, and she expects to enter into a plea agreement that would reduce her charge of first-degree felony aggravated robbery, for which she could face life in prison, to a second-degree felony, which would carry a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Police have said The Grocery Store is one of as many as nine robberies in the Salt Lake Valley dating to mid-December that they have linked to Chotia-Thompson, 40.

Prosecutors expect charges in several other robberies will be filed against Chotia-Thompson in coming weeks. They declined to comment on whether these charges, too, will be folded into a plea agreement.

Chotia-Thompson is accused of committing the crimes with 38-year-old Kelly Fay Simons.

Simons was shot to death Jan. 9 by law enforcement officers near Liberty Park when she allegedly tried to run down a member of the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team with her white pickup.

Chotia-Thompson was arrested hours after the fatal shooting without incident.

She remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.

Family members waved to Chotia-Thompson from the courtroom gallery as she was led out of the courtroom Thursday. They declined to comment.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: marissa_jae