One of five men pleaded guilty Tuesday and a trial began for two others accused of pulling a string of robberies during Masters Week 1998.
Nicholas Demarcus Nichols, 18, of the 1000 block of River Ridge Road, apologized to the victims Tuesday in Richmond County Superior Court and said he wished he could warn others that "fast life and fast money isn't worth it."
Judge Carl C. Brown accepted Mr. Nichols' plea to six counts of armed robbery, one count of robbery and one count of aggravated assault. The judge sentenced Mr. Nichols to 55 years in prison.
Mr. Nichols will have to serve at least 90 percent of his sentence before he can be considered for parole, said his attorney, Martin Peutz. Although the charges are serious and numerous, Mr. Peutz asked the judge to take into account that the crimes occurred in just two days.
Sheriff's investigators contend Mr. Nichols was part of a group of young men who preyed on residents and visitors alike during last year's Masters Tournament. From April 21-23, when arrests were made, 11 people were robbed at gunpoint and at least one of the victims had a gun held to her head.
In addition to Mr. Nichols, investigators charged 18-year-olds Coleman Tiko Duncan of Langley and Toine Lamar Daniels of North Augusta. Their trial began Tuesday after Mr. Nichols decided to plead guilty. The trial is expected to continue through Thursday.
Two other men -- Ricardo Rodriques Cartledge, 25, of the 2400 block of Bass Avenue, and Shaun Kene Metoyer, 18, of North Augusta -- also face charges. Their trials were postponed this week.