YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A 21-year-old man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to robbing three stores in the city with a handgun has been sentenced to 18 and a half years in federal prison for just over $1,200 he took.
Judge Dan Aaron Polster today in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio handed down the sentence to Terron Jones, who pleaded guilty in January to to three counts of interference with interstate commerce by means of robbery and two counts of brandishing or carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
Jones was sentenced a year and after the last of those robberies on June 2, 2020, when he robbed a Dollar General store on Belmont Avenue.
Jones pleaded guilty to a May 16 robbery of the Rite Aid on East Midlothian Boulevard; a May 22, 2020 robbery at the E. Midlothian Blvd. Speedway and a May 23, 2020, robbery at a Wilson Ave. Check ‘N Go.
In the Wilson Avenue robbery, police said Jones exchanged gunfire with an employee who chased Jones out of the store and fired several shots at him. Police shut down the Center Street Bridge for a time to look for evidence or to see if anyone was hit by gunfire but they found nothing. No one was injured.
City police used video and tips from the community to take Jones into custody.
In a sentencing memorandum filed with the court, defense attorney Edward Heindel asked for a 17-year sentence for his client.
In the memorandum, Heindel wrote that no one was ever injured in any of the robberies and in the robbery where gunfire was exchanged no one was ever hit.
Additionally, Henidel wrote, Jones only managed to get a total of about $1,200 combined in the three robberies.
His client was also affected by his upbringing, Heindel wrote. His brother overdosed after Jones’ brother died at the age of 1 and died in a car crash. His mother served three years in prison for his brother’s death on a charge of reckless homicide.
He was also abused by a family member and began abusing drugs at a young age, Heindel wrote.
Heindel wrote his client “…acted impulsively in these robberies. He immediately confessed. Nobody was injured and a small amount of property was taken.”
Jones was already expecting at least a 17-year sentence, which Heindel wrote is a “sufficient sentence.”
Jones’ case is the second where federal authorities have prosecuted defendants for a string of store robberies, a crime that has plagued the city at different times through the years. Last year, two men were given lengthy prison sentences in federal court for robbing several stores in Youngstown, Struthers and Boardman.
Jones is charged federally with interfering with commerce by disrupting the movement of “articles and commodities” through robbery.