GATESVILLE — A Copperas Cove man started a 10-year sentence Thursday after he pleaded guilty to robbing a local convenience store with a knife.

Judge Trent Farrell sentenced James Paul Cann, 30, of Copperas Cove, to 10 years in prison during an open court plea on Wednesday.

“He pleaded open to the court with a cap of 13 years, which means I agreed that the state would not seek more than 13 years,” District Attorney Dusty Boyd said.

Cann received several plea offers last year, Boyd said, but this was the first one of this year. With Farrell’s sentencing ruling of 10 years, the DA sees it as a win.

“The way I look at it is, I was in the right neighborhood,” Boyd said. “If I asked for 13 and the courts give 10, I feel like I have an idea of what the court is looking for.”

Cann was arrested by Copperas Cove police around March 3 for a robbery committed at a 7-Eleven on North First Street on Feb. 29.

According to the arrest complaint, Cann walked into the store with his hand wrapped in a plastic bag and displayed a large knife. He then picked up a lighter from a display case and “slapped it on the counter” before demanding money.

The clerk gave Cann several hundred dollars and he fled the scene, the complaint stated.

Cann later told a man he had robbed the store and threw the knife, a sweater and bandanna he was wearing to commit the robbery in several trash cans, the complaint stated. The man recorded the conversation, which was given to police.

Boyd said Cann had no felony charges before his Wednesday plea and sentencing, but he did have some misdemeanor charges out of Bell County.

Farrell also sentenced Rene Reyna, 40, of Copperas Cove, to 10 years in prison on an indecency with a child and sexual contact charge.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Stevens said Reyna also pleaded guilty in open court, where he received his sentence. While Reyna originally was facing two of the same charges, the plea agreement allowed him to be convicted of just one, Stevens said.

The offense was originally reported to the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 20, but occurred in July.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7474

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