Jury Convicts Blind Defendant Of Robbery
PHILADELPHIA – A federal jury today convicted Mark Sanders, 23, of Philadelphia, PA, in a motorcycle robbery that rendered the defendant blind. On June 26, 2011, Sanders and two other men responded to a Craigslist ad for a dirt bike for sale. Sanders and a co-conspirator met the seller at an agreed-upon location on Green Street in Philadelphia. The co-conspirator purported to inspect the dirt bike, asking the seller to start the bike and rev the engine. He then told Sanders to pay for the motorcycle but Sanders, instead, pulled a firearm from his waistband, pointed it at the seller and his companions and ordered them to get on the ground. Sanders’ conspirator commandeered the dirt bike and took off. A relative of the seller’s was at home, across the street, saw the robbery happening, and took his own, legally-owned, handgun to the scene. When Sanders would not respond to the relative’s order to stop and, instead, turned to point his gun at the seller’s relative, the seller’s relative fired his weapon, shooting Sanders in the temple rendering him blind.
The jury deliberated for two hours before finding Sanders guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery of a motor vehicle, robbery of a motor vehicle, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
U.S. District Court Judge Juan R. Sanchez has not yet scheduled a sentencing hearing. Sanders faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison with a mandatory sentence of five years.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Arlene Fisk and Eric Boden.