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Press Release

Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 14+ Years for Shooting and Attempted Armed Robbery of West Philadelphia Convenience Store

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
The sentence is significantly longer than the overly lenient negotiated sentence offered to the defendant by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Jovaun Patterson, 31, of Philadelphia, PA was sentenced to 171 months in prison (14 years and three months) and 5 years of supervised release by United States District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg for the attempted robbery of a convenience store in West Philadelphia in 2018.

In December 2019, Patterson pleaded guilty to charges of attempted Hobbs Act robbery, and using, carrying and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. These charges stem from the defendant’s attempted armed robbery on May 5, 2018, of the KCJ, Inc. convenience store, during which Patterson shot the store owner, Li “Mike “ Poeng, with an assault rifle. Mr. Poeng is a refugee from Cambodia who became a U.S. citizen in 1998. As a result of the shooting, Mr. Poeng is confined to a wheelchair. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office originally charged Patterson with multiple crimes, including attempted murder and aggravated assault, but then dropped the attempted murder charges and agreed to an overly lenient plea deal of only 3 ½ to 10 years imprisonment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office then stepped in to correct this injustice. 

“Violent crime is a severe problem in Philadelphia, as shootings and homicides have sharply increased in 2020 from already intolerable levels. Confronting this crime wave is a top priority of my Office,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “It is important for potential criminals to know that committing a violent crime will result in grave consequences. It is also important for the general public to know that we are fighting hard to protect Philadelphia neighborhoods and to seek justice for victims. Taking Jovaun Patterson off the streets for an appropriate amount of time is part of that fight. I want to thank Mike Poeng for his courage throughout this case. Sadly, we can never make him completely whole, but today’s sentence is part of his healing process and will also help to deter future violence.”

“Today an extremely violent offender has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term,” said John Schmidt, acting Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division.  “The outcome is the result of ATF’s collaborative effort with the Philadelphia Police Department to combat gun violence.  Along with our other local, state and federal partners, we are committed to investigating gun crimes in Philadelphia and working with the US Attorney’s Office to prosecute those who violate the gun laws.”

Committing a violent crime in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania carries a tremendous risk of a long prison sentence, which is the message of the Office’s new anti-violence public awareness campaign. You can learn more about this campaign on the District website.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The case was investigated by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Salvatore L. Astolfi.


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Updated August 13, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods