CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte man ran off during a court recess Wednesday, just before a jury found him guilty of robbery.
The trial for Tahj Wilson, 24, began Dec. 9. He was convicted Wednesday afternoon on one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of cocaine.
The District Attorney’s Office says Wilson was not present to hear the verdict because he fled during recess. He will be sentenced once he is arrested.
"My guess is he thought the truth of the matter the jury would return a verdict of guilty which they did," said Prosecuting Assistant District Attorney, Tim Sielaff.
Sielaff says Wilson's attorney could not reach him when court reconvened Tuesday morning.
"I think he was shocked like the rest of us, that his clients was not there. He made numerous efforts to contact him through family members, through, I believe his girlfriend, and he was simply unsuccessful in finding his client," he said.
The original charges stem from an operation in October 2011 involving Huntersville and Pineville police.
They say undercover officers made plans to buy marijuana from Wilson. During the sale, Wilson’s co-conspirator Garnett Taylor pulled out a gun as Wilson demanded the officers’ belongings, according to police. Other nearby officers quickly arrested both men.
"It just speaks of the character and the lack of responsibility in that individual's behalf," said Huntersville Police Lt. Scott Sharp.
Sharp says, Wilson has been in and out of jail since he was a teenager, and has a long extensive history with the department.
"His history has increased to become more violent over the years. Mr. WIlson has proven himself to have a propensity for violence. I just hope that somebody, if they know where he is, to turn him in," he said.
Wilson was looking at a sentence of about ten years on the charges he was convicted of Wednesday.
"He has committed multiple offense in this community, and the most recent one was a crime of violence. We are just fortunate, that the victims in this case were undercover law enforcement that had back-up at the ready. Had this been another circumstance, we could have been dealing with something far more serious, like a homicide," said Sielaff.
Taylor, Wilson's co-conspirator previously plead guilty to the crime.
Wilson was not wearing a monitoring device, having spent nearly a year in prison on an unrelated crime. He bonded out of jail in early November before heading to trial on these charges.
"Certainly there is a system in place, with the criminal justice system where people are entitled to a bond unless they are facing a capital offense. In this circumstance, that system let us down, but that doesn't mean the system itself is broken," said Sielaff.
Anyone with information on Wilson’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact police.