Weather Forecast


Man indicted for armed robbery of Bemidji market

MINNEAPOLIS--A federal indictment unsealed late yesterday charges a 21-year-old man

with the December 30, 2011, armed robbery of Newby's Market in Bemidji. The indictment,

which was filed on April 3, 2012, charges Jason Lee King, no known address, with one count of

interference with commerce by robbery, pursuant to the Hobbs Act; one count of using,

carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; one count of

being a felon in possession of a firearm; and one count of possession of an unregistered sawedoff

shotgun. The indictment was unsealed following King's initial appearance in federal court.

The indictment alleges that on December 30, 2011, King stole approximately $1,476 from

the store while threatening a store clerk with a 12-gauge, sawed-off shotgun, which had a barrel

of less than 18 inches. According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case, the market

was robbed just before 9:00 p.m. by two masked men armed with a shotgun and a knife. After

the robbery, the men fled in a blue pickup. In responding to the robbery, officers spotted the

truck. The two men were abandoning it and fleeing into the woods. King and a juvenile male

were ultimately found and taken into custody. Officers recovered the loaded shotgun in the

wooded area, along the route the men had taken. Inside the pickup truck, police found $1,420 in

cash, a black ski mask, several Newby's Market receipts, and a check made out to Newby's


Because he is a felon, King is prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm or

ammunition at any time. His prior convictions--all in 2009 in Beltrami County--included

kidnapping to facilitate flight and two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous


The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, allows federal prosecutors to prosecute

violent, habitual criminals who commit armed robbery in places of business involved in

interstate commerce. Federal prosecution of these cases is sometimes beneficial since the

penalties are often tougher than under state law. Furthermore, because the federal system has

no parole, those who receive federal sentences serve virtually their entire sentence behind bars.

If convicted in the current federal case, King faces a potential maximum penalty of life in

prison for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, 20 years for the interference with

commerce by robbery, ten years for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and ten years for

possession of an unregistered shotgun counts. All sentences will be determined by a federal

district court judge.