FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 28, 2014
For Information Contact:
District Man Sentenced to 11 ½ Years in Prison
For Robbery and Burglary at Northeast Washington Gas Station
Masked Defendant, And Two Others, Forced Their Way Into Attendants’ Booth,
Assaulted Attendant, and Stole Over $700
WASHINGTON – Arel Jennings, 30, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a total of 11 ½ years in prison on charges of robbery, burglary, wearing a hood or mask, and possession of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Jennings and co-defendants Kevin Barnes and James Wright were found guilty by a jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, following a trial in October of 2013. Jennings was sentenced by the Honorable Franklin L. Burgess, Jr. Upon completion of his prison term, Jennings will be placed on five years of supervised release.
At prior proceedings, Barnes, 27, and Wright, 24, were sentenced to prison terms of 54 and 42 months, respectively, for their roles in the case. Both are also from Washington, D.C.
According to the government’s evidence, on Jan. 24, 2013, during the 11 p.m. shift change at a gas station in the 1300 block of Florida Avenue NE, Jennings, Barnes, and Wright, all wearing masks, forced their way into the attendants’ booth. The two attendants working the night shift were both recent immigrants to the United States.
One of the three assailants assaulted one of the attendants, and the three stole over $700 from the booth and fled. Members of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Robbery Intervention Program were patrolling in the area, and apprehended all three defendants within a few blocks of the station. As he was being arrested, Jennings threw $185 onto the ground. A subsequent search revealed that Jennings had four plastic baggies of cocaine.
Jennings was subject to enhanced sentencing penalties, due to his multiple prior felony convictions in the District of Columbia.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen recognized the outstanding efforts of the detectives and officers from the Metropolitan Police Department, and particularly of the Robbery Intervention Unit, whose quick actions following the robbery were critical to the case. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chrisellen Kolb and Jean Sexton; Paralegal Specialist Todd McClelland; and Litigation Technology Specialist Leif Hickling, who provided assistance. Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Truong, who investigated and indicted the case, and James Ewing, who prosecuted the case at trial.