Jury Convicts Lake County Man Of Murder
Defendant shot and killed store clerk during robbery
SAN FRANCISCO – Jonathan Mota was convicted of murder caused by a firearm; for Hobbs Act robbery; and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to that robbery, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder. The guilty verdict, delivered yesterday, followed a four-week jury trial before the Honorable Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge.
According to the evidence presented at trial, on January 18, 2013, Mota, 34, of Lake County, Calif., a convicted felon, parked a stolen vehicle in the vicinity of the Mount Konocti Gas & Mart in Kelseyville, Calif., to rob it. Mota left an unwitting passenger in the vehicle and wore a hoodie, ski mask, baggy jeans, and gloves in an attempt to hide his identity. Store clerk Forrest Seagrave was mopping up and preparing to end his shift when Mota arrived brandishing a silver handgun. Seagrave did not know Mota was armed when Seagrave attempted to interrupt the robbery. Mota shot Seagrave in the neck, causing Seagrave to bleed to death on the floor of the convenience store. Video footage from the store cameras showed Mota stepping over Seagrave’s body to grab the money from the cash register.
“Today’s verdict is the result of cooperation and months of tireless work between state and federal law enforcement partners, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Lake County District Attorney, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney, Brian J. Stretch. “I want to thank all the members of the team who contributed the time and resources necessary to bring Mr. Mota to justice.”
"Through this cooperative effort, ATF and our partners were able to apprehend and successfully prosecute a violent and dangerous individual who posed a significant threat to the public," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Jill A. Snyder. "Today we took a killer off our streets."
A federal grand jury handed down a Superseding Indictment on June 27, 2013, charging Mota with murder caused by a firearm; Hobbs Act robbery; and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to that robbery. With yesterday’s verdict, Mota has been convicted of all of these charges.
Sentencing has been scheduled for October 28, 2016, before Judge Tigar. The maximum statutory penalty for use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to the Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), is life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for the use of the firearm resulting in murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j), is life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), is 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Mota’s sentence also may include a 10-year consecutive prison term for discharging the firearm during the robbery. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
The case was tried by Assistant United States Attorneys Damali Taylor and Sarah Hawkins, with assistance from Kurt Kosek. The prosecution is the result of an investigation led by the ATF and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.