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Press Release

Lake County Man Sentenced To Life In Prison Plus 10 Years For Shooting And Killing Store Clerk During Robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Life Sentence Follows Guilty Verdict After Federal Murder Trial

OAKLAND –Jonathan Mota was sentenced today to life in prison plus 10 years for murder caused by a firearm; Hobbs Act robbery; and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to that robbery, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder.  The charges stemmed from the murder of Forrest Seagrave during the robbery of a convenience store in 2013.

On July 6, 2016, following a four-week jury trial before the Honorable Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge, a federal jury convicted Mota, 34, of Lake County, Calif., of charges arising from the convenience store robbery.  Evidence at trial showed that on January 18, 2013, Mota, a convicted felon, parked a stolen vehicle in the vicinity of the Mount Konocti Gas & Mart in Kelseyville, Calif., to rob it.  Mota left a 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. 

On June 27, 2013, a federal grand jury indicted Mota and charged him with Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a); 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); and use of the firearm resulting in murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j).  On July 6, 2016, the jury convicted Mota of all three counts in the indictment. 

Today’s sentence was handed down by Judge Tigar. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Damali Taylor and Sarah Hawkins prosecuted the case, with assistance from Kurt Kosek.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation led by the ATF and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Updated December 27, 2016

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime