A 24-year-old Hilton Head Island man pleaded guilty Monday to robbing a store in Sea Pines Plantation during Labor Day weekend last year and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, according to the 14th Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office.
Authorities say Rion Beaty held up employees of the South Beach General Store at gunpoint Sept. 2. They turned over $4,000 in cash. Beaty then forced an employee into a back room and threatened to kill him after he was told there was no more money in the store, a news release said.
A hostess at a nearby restaurant, where Beaty had recently worked, recognized him as he left the store and said he was carrying a pistol. Two store employees also picked him out in a photo lineup, a news release said. Beaty was arrested later that month on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Beaty must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole.
Beaty has prior convictions for weapons violations, drugs, assault and battery, and disturbing schools, according to a news release.