Decatur Man Pleads Guilty to Hobbs Act Robbery, Conspiracy, and Firearms Charges
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Sentencing has been scheduled on Mar. 5, 2018, for Matthew J. Higgins-Vogt, 25, of Decatur, Ill., who today pled guilty to his role in the April 2015, armed robbery of the Circle K convenience store and murder of 19-year-old Paige Mars, also of Decatur.
In court today, Higgins-Vogt admitted that on April 3, 2015, he and Kelton Snyder robbed the Circle K convenience store at 1685 S. Baltimore in Decatur, and took money, including the contents of the cash register, and alcohol, while Snyder brandished a 12-gauge shotgun. In furtherance of the conspiracy to commit the armed robbery of the convenience store, Higgins-Vogt admitted that he shot and killed Paige Mars on April 5, 2015, because he and Snyder did not want Mars to alert law enforcement about the robbery. Mars drove the two men to the convenience store, waited in the car while they committed the robbery, and then drove them away.
The case is being prosecuted in federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Bohm. The Decatur Police Department and FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.
Higgins-Vogt has been in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his initial appearance in federal court on Feb. 17, 2017. Higgins-Vogt was previously in the custody of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office since his arrest on state charges on April 8, 2015.
At sentencing, the penalty for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence is a mandatory seven years to life to be served consecutive to any sentence imposed for the crime of violence. The statutory sentence for Hobbs Act robbery and conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, is up to 20 years in prison. For felon in possession of a firearm, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison.
A jury convicted co-conspirator Kelton Snyder in April 2016. On Oct. 24, 2016, Snyder was sentenced to life in federal prison.