ST. LOUIS • Derreaun Davis appeared to be having a hard time making up his mind Monday. Co-defendant Corey R. Wade had just admitted a 2014 holdup at a popular cop hangout bar in which a woman was killed. Would Davis accept the prosecution’s deal or take his chances with a trial?
He called his mother from the courtroom, using his lawyer’s cellphone, and that sealed the decision. Like Wade, Davis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and 31 other charges on the expectation of getting up to 60 years in prison, with the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors dropped first-degree murder charges, which could have meant life with no parole.
Formal sentencing was scheduled Tuesday for Davis, 21, of the 5700 block of Goodfellow Boulevard, and Wade, 30, of the 4500 block of Davison Avenue.
They were wounded, and a third man escaped when the robbery turned into a shootout Dec. 2, 2014, at Pooh’s Corner, 6023 Virginia Avenue in the city’s Carondelet neighborhood. A third suspect was arrested but never charged.
Pooh’s has been a popular spot for off-duty and retired police for more than two decades.
Twice before, robbers there had been met with gunfire. In one of those cases, the same retired St. Louis officer who wounded Wade and Corey shot a different robber in the buttocks.
In the 2014 crime, one of the robbers shot Diana Lawrence, 63, of the 3400 block of Dunnica Avenue, prosecutors said. She was struck in the head and died the next day.
Authorities said that Davis, Wade and another man entered the bar about 10:55 p.m., ordering people to the floor and one of them shooting into the ceiling.
The former officer, who worked for the department for eight years in the 1970s and had a concealed-carry permit, fired a .357-caliber snub-nose pistol, hitting Wade in the eye and Davis in the shoulder, police said. A male customer, 73, was shot in the ankle in the melee, and another man, 66, was shot twice in his buttocks.
The ex-officer, then 65, sustained a leg injury. On Sept. 15, 2008, he had been working as a bartender at Pooh’s when he stopped two would-be robbers, shooting one. Those men, in their 20s, went to prison.
In late November 1995, an off-duty St. Louis narcotics detective wrestled with a robber at Pooh’s and was struck in the forehead with the barrel of a sawed-off shotgun. The detective then pulled a pistol from his jacket and fatally shot that robber, Anthony Bickell, 18.
Pooh was a nickname for the bar’s original owner, but the name stayed and gave rise to the tavern’s slogan: “Police Officers Official Hiding Spot.”