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Press Release

Indianapolis Man Sentenced To 20 Years For Local Robberies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana

Southside businesses robbed at gunpoint, suspect then led law enforcement on high-speed chase


INDIANAPOLIS - Josh J. Minkler, Acting United States Attorney, announced today an Indianapolis man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for robbing two Indianapolis businesses at gunpoint in October of 2013.  Joseph Dale Hamilton, 48, was sentenced in federal court by U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence after being found guilty of using a firearm during a crime of violence and possession of a firearm by an armed career criminal.

“Keeping our communities safe by prosecuting the worst-of-the-worst, has been, and will remain a top priority for this office,” said Minkler.  “If you are a felon and choose to illegally carry a firearm, you can expect the full wrath of federal prosecution.”

Evidence from the sentencing indicated Hamilton robbed a Phillips 66 gas station on Madison Avenue on October 18, 2013, and a Walgreens pharmacy two miles south of that location on October 21, 2013.  During both robberies, Hamilton menaced employees of the victim businesses with a shotgun and demanded money from their cash registers.  Hamilton obtained approximately $150 from the Phillips 66 and approximately $45 from the Walgreens.  Law Enforcement officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department obtained surveillance video from the two businesses and were able to identify Hamilton as the suspect.

On October 25, 2013, FBI agents and IMPD officers attempted to arrest Hamilton as he drove a vehicle along I-65 on the south side of Indianapolis.  Hamilton did not stop, however, and instead led police on a high speed chase which ended after Hamilton’s vehicle left the interstate at the I-65 / I-70 interchange, crossed a grass embankment, and came to rest in a parking lot in the 900 block of South East Street.  Hamilton attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended a short distance away.

Hamilton, who was convicted of three counts of robbery in 1987, possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon in 2000, possession of cocaine in 2006, and residential entry in 2013, is considered an armed career criminal under federal law and received an enhanced sentence for the firearm possession charge due to his violent criminal history.  He also received a consecutive five year sentence for using that firearm during a crime of violence.

Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott stated, “This case demonstrates the commitment of the FBI and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to identify, investigate, and prosecute violent criminal organizations in the Indianapolis area.  The sentence imposed, as a result of our investigation, should send a powerful message to violent criminals that they will be held accountable for their actions.”

“We are encouraged by the continuous dedication and efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, our law enforcement partners and the detectives involved in this case in making our communities safe,” said Chief Rick Hite of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. “By seeking the maximum sentence allowable by law, we are sending the message that these violent individuals will no longer be allowed to pose a threat or continue to instill fear in our communities.”

According to Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Rinka, who prosecuted the case for the government, Judge Lawrence also imposed a $1,000 fine and ordered Hamilton to serve five years of supervised release upon discharge from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Updated January 26, 2015