News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Man indicted for the armed robbery of a Bemidji convenience store

May 3, 2012

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.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office and the
United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Paulsen.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

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