40 months for gas station heist getaway driver

The getaway driver of a car fleeing a gas station – hitting a man – after stealing a few packs of smokes won’t be driving for awhile.

Mohamed Nasrallah, 24, was sentenced to 40 months behind bars Monday, and a five year driving ban following his release. Nasrallah was convicted of criminal negligence causing bodily harm to gas station attendant Mike Armstrong, who later died from severe head injuries after chasing Nasrallah’s accomplices.

Under his bail conditions, Nasrallah wasn’t supposed to be behind the wheel.

Last month, he pleaded guilty to careless driving and breaching that condition.

The Crown asked for 43 months, while the defence sought 27 months in jail.

“I think it was fair,” said Armstrong’s sister, Pat Gorman – with tears in her eyes – after Nasrallah was taken away in handcuffs. “The whole thing’s just very sad, just very, very sad for everybody.”

Judge Timothy Ray scolded Nasrallah’s “wanton disregard” for Armstrong.

The incident took place at Peter’s Gas Bar on Robertson Rd. on March 23, 2009 and was one of three thefts – two at the same location – in 10 days.

“On all three occasions, he acted as the getaway driver,” said Ray.

Nasrallah drove his father’s car, with the licence plate covered.

Two accomplices got out, pretending to buy cigarettes but purposely using the wrong debit account to cause a delay.

The value of each of the thefts was less than $20.

In May, Nasrallah was caught speeding in a parking lot. Nasrallah lied to police, giving a fake name.

“How trustworthy is that?” asked Ray.

Nasrallah showed up in court wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, and white sneakers.

He sat with his hands clasped; his parents seated behind him.

Ray chewed out Nasrallah for lying to police, and noted his parents’ explanation – peer influence – for their son’s behaviour.

Nasrallah was alone the night he was caught speeding, so his peers cannot be blamed, said Ray. Although Nasrallah previously apologized to Armstrong’s family, “was this truly remorse for his conduct or was it remorse for getting caught?” asked Ray.

Nasrallah spoke with his lawyer after the sentence was handed down, briefly burying his head in his hands.

He suddenly sat up, leaning back, then crossed his arms over his chest. His parents showed no emotion.

Nasrallah was given a 42 month sentence, then credited for serving two months.



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