EAST HUNTINGDON (KDKA) — The man accused in three armed robberies at an ATM machine in Westmoreland County was set to be in court today for a preliminary hearing, but the prosecution and defense worked out a deal.

They are haunting, frightening images of a masked man springing from the darkness, wielding a knife and robbing unsuspecting customers at a drive-up ATM at a Commonwealth Bank in New Stanton.

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Arrested on three counts of armed robbery, 26-year-old James Stonick had a lot to say leaving state police headquarters on Oct. 26. But heading into his preliminary hearing today, he remained silent.

“The drug leads them down a path of destruction,” said defense attorney Chris Huffman. “They’ll either kill themselves with the drug, or they’ll end up here at a magistrate’s [office] because they were stealing to get money to fuel that habit.”

Huffman says Stonick has an alleged heroin problem and that drove him to the triple alleged felonies, which are now part of a deal.

“We’re going to resolve all three with this plea agreement,” said Huffman.

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Stonick faces a year in jail, followed by mandatory offenders’ boot camp, and then six years of probation.

“It gives him an opportunity to make himself better in the future and come back into society,” Huffman said.

Stonick is set to enter a formal plea on Dec. 30.

While Stonick will avoid significant jail time, Huffman says if his client makes a mistake in prison, or boot camp, or on probation, he faces six to 10 years in jail.

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