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Press Release

Decatur Man Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison for Hobbs Act Robbery, Conspiracy, and Firearms Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

URBANA, Ill. – Matthew J. Higgins-Vogt, 25, of Decatur, Ill., was sentenced today to 60 years in prison for his role in an armed robbery of a Decatur Circle K convenience store and the murder of a 19-year-old Decatur woman, in April 2015. A jury convicted Higgins-Vogt’s co-conspirator Kelton Snyder in April 2016. On Oct. 24, 2016, Snyder was sentenced to life in federal prison.

On Oct. 30, 2017, 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. Related to the conspiracy to commit the armed robbery, 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 had driven the two men to the convenience store, waited in the car while they committed the robbery, and then drove them away.

According to evidence presented by the government, after the robbery, Mars learned of past violence by Snyder, and questioned him about it. Snyder and Higgins-Vogt became concerned that Mars would tell law enforcement that they had committed the robbery. The two men determined that Higgins-Vogt would kill Mars because Snyder and Mars had a brief personal relationship and they believed that law enforcement would suspect Snyder.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Bohm prosecuted the case. 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.

Updated March 5, 2018

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