A Northport teen who robbed a local gas station at knife point plans to finish up high school and pursue a college degree.
But Christopher Hammersley, 17, will have to spend at least three years behind bars before he can carry out those plans.
Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers sentenced Hammersley on Friday to three to 15 years in prison. Jurors last month convicted Hammersley on a count of armed robbery. Family and friends attended the sentencing in support of Hammersley, who apologized to them and the court.
"I made a very bad mistake and I accept the consequences for what I've done," Hammersley said. "There's no excuse for what I've done. I really would like to get a high school diploma and a college education."
Hammersley entered a Clark gas station along Front Street on June 15, flashed a knife at the clerk and demanded cash. He told Traverse City police he robbed the gas station to make some quick cash to pay off a debt.
Hammersley fled with the money to a church near Washington and Barlow streets, where he'd stashed a change of clothing in a backpack. He also parked a getaway vehicle a couple blocks from the church.
But an employee at a nearby business saw the masked teen run from the gas station and helped police track him down. Hammersley attempted to hop a fence to elude police, who fired a Taser in his direction. Traverse City police and Grand Traverse sheriff's deputies eventually tackled Hammersley and arrested him after a brief scuffle.
"That is a very rare crime in this area," Rodgers told Hammersley. "You've done something that's very dangerous, especially in this area."
Rodgers recommended emotional and mental health programs for Hammersley while in prison, and said he doesn't expect to see him in court on another crime.
"It's unlikely I'll see you a second time," Rodgers said. "I believe there is a strong potential for rehabilitation."
Hammersley was a student at Northport High School.