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Palombi sentenced on armed robbery charge

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Nearly three years after committing an armed robbery, a former Roswell police officer was sentenced Tuesday.

Valerie Palombi

Valerie Palombi, 27, was sentenced to six years in prison, with another five to be served on supervised probation. She will be required to serve 85% of her six-year prison sentence.

An additional three years in prison and two years probation for a conspiracy to commit armed robbery charge was suspended, as were two 364-day sentences for two separate counts of resisting, evading and obstructing a police officer.

Palombi – an officer with the Roswell Police Department from 2014 to 2016 – was found guilty in March on charges connected to the robbery of a Subway restaurant that she committed with assistance of Kevin Blake, 26.

Blake entered the restaurant at about 9:30 p.m. and ordered a sandwich. When the employee turned to get the bread, Blake took out a gun and aimed it at the employee. He then forced the employee to lead him into a back room where another employee was washing dishes, and held them both at gunpoint.

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Palombi then entered the restaurant and took $600 from the register, while Blake held the two employees at gunpoint.

Blake, who later testified against Palombi at her trial, pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery in 2017. He was sentenced in March to six and a half years in prison in addition to four years, 11 months and 31 days probation.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the state recommended Palombi serve nine years in prison on the armed robbery charge with an additional year for doing so with a firearm enhancement; three years for conspiracy to commit armed robbery and 364 days on each of the two charges of resisting, evading and obstructing a police officer.

The state recommended all sentences run consecutively or at the same time.

When explaining the state’s recommended sentence, Timothy Nuccio of the 12th Judicial District pointed to her role in the robbery and that she was well aware of what she was doing at the time of the crime.

Testimony from the trial, he said, showed Palombi came up with the idea to rob the Subway restaurant where she once worked, provided Blake with the gun he had used, knew how to open the cash register she had taken the money from and was familiar with the layout of the restaurant.

Nuccio also pointed to what he called a deeply troubling history of anti-social behavior on Palombi’s part, which included two standoffs with police, and a 60-day diagnostic evaluation that shows Palombi exhibits symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, which is characterized by drastic mood swings, sudden changes in behavior and a lack of impulse control.

Incarceration is needed to ensure Palombi takes medication and takes part in therapy in a group setting so that she receives the necessary treatment and is no longer a danger to the community.

Jonathan Miller, an attorney representing Palombi, recommended that she get no more than Blake did and that her sentence be served not in prison, but in a lockdown treatment program.

A long line of Palombi’s loved ones, including her parents and siblings, also spoke at the hearing and sought to show Palombi as a different person who has shown compassion and helped others through times of hardship, despite a history of personal challenges, including abuse when she was young.

Palombi’s stepbrother Josh Hicks told Hudson and the court before the sentence was handed down, that Palombi is “one of the greatest people in my life” and that she showed him how to work through his own struggles.

Vincent Palombi, her father, said despite what he said is some mistakes she has made, Palombi has worked through many obstacles in her life.

“She has busted her butt and become a better person,” Vincent Palombi said.

Following the sentencing, Miller said he would be appealing the jury’s guilty verdict in her trial.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.