A Vinton man was sentenced to a little more than three years in jail Thursday for carrying out a robbery at a discount store last fall.

David Adam McFall, 34, apologized in court and said he’d been in a downward spiral fueled by mental health issues that he didn’t know how to deal with because he had not, at that point, been diagnosed.

“I was completely unaware,” he said. “I just wanted to run away but you can’t run away from your mind.”

After his arrest, McFall checked himself into a hospital and said he’s now in treatment with diagnoses of bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I couldn’t be more regretful for what I did,” he said, growing emotional as he recalled the day of the robbery.

“It was a dark spot I was in.”

McFall walked into a Dollar General store in the 6400 block of Williamson Road on the evening of Oct. 24, demanded money and showed a handgun, according to prior information released by police.

He was arrested the next day and pleaded guilty to a charge of felony robbery in March, according to online court records.

During a sentencing hearing Thursday, Roanoke County Circuit Judge Charlie Dorsey said he was glad McFall sought treatment and would take his background into consideration.

But, he added, he must balance that with the fear McFall created for the innocent employees who were in the store that night.

“None of us, under any circumstances, has a license to do that,” Dorsey said. “We just can’t.”

The defense said McFall accepted responsibility and was prepared to serve his sentence. But they asked the judge to consider imposing a shorter jail term than that suggested by the state’s sentencing guidelines and paring it with a longer period of intensive supervised probation to allow authorities to continue monitoring his treatment.

The prosecution said it was sensitive to McFall’s mental health issues but argued, in part, that he was aware of the gravity of what he was doing while carrying out the robbery.

Dorsey, after hearing both arguments, declined to break from the guidelines but agreed to hand down a sentence at the lower end of the recommended range.

He gave McFall an active jail sentence of three years and two months. The full sentence was 23 years suspended after the active period is served.

McFall will be on supervised probation once released and must continue complying with his treatment. He also must pay restitution to the Dollar General.

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Alicia Petska covers what's happening in Roanoke County and the City of Salem.

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