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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Columbus Man Sentenced for Role in “Craigslist” Robberies

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Raphael D. Person Jr., 31, of Columbus, was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to a total of 506 months in prison and ordered to pay a total of $23,900 in restitution for his role in a conspiracy to rob two people who had posted vehicles for sale on Craigslist. Person helped plan the robberies and fired a gun during each one.

Benjamin C. Glassman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Brad Earman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw, and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the sentence handed down by Senior U.S. District Judge James L. Graham.

A jury convicted Person on October 30, 2015 following a four-day trial of one count of conspiracy, two counts of armed robbery and two counts of discharging a firearm in connection with the robberies. One robbery occurred in Columbus in December 2011. The second one happened in Middletown, Ohio in February 2012.

The government presented evidence and witnesses testified that Person and three others arranged to meet people who had posted cars for sale, bought the cars, then robbed the victims of the money after the purchases were finished. Witnesses testified that Person suggested that the conspirators rob the victims following the sales and that Person was the one who discharged a gun in both robberies.

“During the trial, victims testified that they were afraid for their lives during the robberies,” Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “A lengthy prison term helps bring justice to the victims, and that’s the outcome we received in this case.”

A grand jury indicted Person and co-defendant Mickey L. Velazquez, 31 of Columbus on September 26, 2013 on the five crimes. Velazquez pleaded guilty on January 6, 2015 and was sentenced on June 12, 2015 to 360 months in prison. Two other Columbus men, Ricardo Valazquez-Flores, 25 and Jonathan Flores Oquendo, 24, pleaded guilty to the same crimes prior to the indictment. Valazquez-Flores was sentenced on May 24, 2013 to 204 months in prison, and Oquendo was sentenced on January 3, 2104 to 336 months in prison.

Person must serve more than 42 years in prison in this case consecutive to another prison sentence of 41 years to life imposed in Franklin County, Ohio, where he was convicted of committing murder during a May 2012 home invasion.

Person was arrested by Dooly County Sheriff’s deputies near Vienna, Georgia on September 21, 2013. He has been in custody since his arrest.

Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by law enforcement, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys David J. Bosley and Timothy D. Prichard, who represented the United States in this case. 

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated September 8, 2016