Former Cop Convicted of Armed Heist

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Wednesday, May 4, 2011  |  Updated 8:01 PM CDT
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A jury sentenced former Dallas police officer Alph Coleman to ten years probation after prosecutors said he conspired to rob a Sam's Club in 2008.

Ashanti Blaize, NBCDFW.com

A jury sentenced former Dallas police officer Alph Coleman to ten years probation after prosecutors said he conspired to rob a Sam's Club in 2008.

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Former Dallas Officer Found Guilty in Sam's Club Robbery

A former Dallas police officer once hailed as a hero could be headed to prison.
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A former Dallas police officer once hailed as a hero won't be headed to prison after all.

A Dallas County jury found Alph Coleman guilty of masterminding an armed heist at a Sam's Club where he worked off-duty security.

On Wednesday the jury sentenced Coleman to a 10 year suspended sentence, which amounts to probation as well as a $10,000 fine.

Jurors sent out two notes saying they were deadlocked -- 9-3 on Monday and 11-1 on Tuesday morning. But by Tuesday afternoon, they were unanimous on a guilty verdict.

Coleman spoke exclusively to NBC DFW in 2008 after the robbery. He described how a man in a ski mask rushed into the store and held him at gunpoint.

When asked in the interview if he thought he was going to die, Coleman said, "There's not one time in my head that I was thinking, 'I was going to die.'"

Prosecutors said Coleman wanted to be shot to make the robbery seem more realistic. They presented jurors with phone records that show hundreds of calls between Coleman and the masked man around the time of the holdup.

There was also surveillance video that didn't synch with Coleman's account of what happened.

Defense lawyers argued that the man accused of the robbery pointed the finger at Coleman so prosecutors would cut him a deal.

"We're obviously disappointed in the jury's decision," said Tom D'Amano, Coleman's defense attorney. "We feel there was overwhelming reasonable doubt."

The punishment phase started at 9 a.m. Wednesday but the jury didn't decide on the sentence until 3 p.m.

"We look forward to presenting the positive and good things Alph Coleman has done so that the jury has a better understanding of him," D'Amano said on Tuesday.

Coleman faced up to life in prison.

NBCDFW's Ashanti Blaize contributed to this report.

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