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Three Face Federal Charges in Armed Robbery of Convenience Store

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 01, 2013

Peoria, Ill. – Two local men and a woman face federal charges in the July 1, 2012, armed robbery of the Casey’s convenience store in Washington, Ill. Those charged with interference with commerce by robbery, known as the Hobbs Act, are: Todd Lawson, 23, no known address; Whitney Graham, 21, of Sun Valley Court, East Peoria; and Lucious Turntine, 24, of the 900 block of S. Sumner, Peoria, Ill.

The indictment alleges that Lawson, Graham and Turntine conspired and worked together to commit the armed robbery of Casey’s General Store in Washington, Ill., on July 1, 2012. Graham allegedly drove Lawson and Turntine to the area and provided them with the store’s safe combination. According to the indictment, Lawson and Turntine entered the store and while one held the clerk at gunpoint, the other opened the safe and took money. Graham then allegedly drove the two away from the store.

The charges were announced this afternoon by U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, Central District of Illinois, and Tazewell County State’s Attorney Stewart J. Umholtz; Matthew Galecki, Acting Resident Agent in Charge for the Springfield Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Washington Police Chief James W. Kuchenbecker; Peoria Police Chief Steven M. Settingsgaard; Master Sergeant Kenneth Mullen, Illinois State Police; Tazewell County Sheriff Robert M. Huston; and Pekin Police Chief Greg Nelson. The case is being prosecuted in federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tate Chambers.

The three-count indictment was returned by the grand jury last week, but remained sealed pending the defendants’ respective court appearances yesterday. The three are each charged with interference of commerce by robbery; using or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence; and conspiracy to use or carry a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. All were ordered to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial, scheduled for May 6, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid.

If convicted, the Hobbs Act offense carries a maximum statutory penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Use or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life, to be served consecutive to any term of imprisonment ordered for the underlying crime of violence. For conspiracy to use or carry a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, the penalty is up to 20 years in prison.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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