Homeless man sentenced in Bemidji armed robbery
Earlier today in federal court in Duluth, a 22-year-old man was sentenced for committing the December 30, 2011, armed robbery of Newby's Market in Bemidji. United States District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle sentenced Jason Lee King, no known address, to 132 months in federal prison on one count of interference with commerce by robbery, pursuant to the Hobbs Act, and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. King was indicted on April 3, 2012, and pleaded guilty on June 11, 2012.
In his plea agreement, King admitted that on December 30, 2011, he stole approximately $1,476 from the store while threatening a store clerk with a loaded, short-barreled shotgun. 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 and the men abandoning it and fleeing into the woods. King and a juvenile male were ultimately found and taken into custody. Officers recovered the 20-gauge shotgun in the woods, along the route the men had taken intheir attempt to escape authorities. Inside the pickup, police also found $1,420 in cash, a black ski mask, several Newby's Market receipts, and a check made out to Newby's Market.
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.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Paulsen.