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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Friday, December 2, 2016

Rockford Man Pleads Guilty to Robbery and Gun Charge

ROCKFORD — A Rockford man pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Kapala to robbery and a gun charge. 

JAMES T. WOODFORD, 25, of Rockford, pleaded guilty to the July 30, 2015, robbery of the Phillips 66 gas station at 4402 Linden Rd. in Rockford, and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of the robbery. 

Also charged with the robbery was co-defendant DAKOTA DIEHL, 21, formerly of Janesville, Wisc.

According to Woodford’s written plea agreement, at approximately 1:13 a.m. on July 30, 2015, Woodford and Diehl ran into the Phillips 66 gas station.  Woodford, who was wielding a 12-gauge shotgun, jumped over the cashier’s counter next to the gas station employee and demanded that the employee give him money from the store’s two cash registers.  Diehl went behind the counter and stole various tobacco products from the store, while Woodford held the firearm next to the employee and forced the employee to empty the cash registers.  Taking approximately $209 and various tobacco products, Woodford and Diehl fled from the Phillips 66 gas station and ran to a getaway vehicle parked nearby.  

Woodford faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, followed by a term of supervised release of up to three years, for the robbery, and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for the firearms offense.  The sentence imposed for the firearms offense is required to be consecutive to any other sentence imposed.  Each charge also carries a potential fine of up to $250,000.  Sentencing for Woodford is set for March 6, 2017, at 2:30 p.m.

Diehl previously pleaded guilty to robbing the Phillips 66 gas station with Woodford and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of that robbery.  Diehl also pleaded guilty to robbing a Mobil gas station at 6536 11th St. in New Milford, on two occasions in July 2015.

The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation; Gary Caruana, Winnebago County Sheriff; and Daniel O’Shea, Chief of the Rockford Police Department.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Talia Bucci.

Violent Crime
Updated December 2, 2016