Federal jury returns verdict in two violent armed robberies
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
HOUSTON – A 51-year-old Houston man has been convicted of two 2019 armed robberies, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
The Houston jury deliberated for approximately two hours after a three-day trial before convicting Hezron Benjamin Stuart on two counts of interference with commerce by robbery and two counts of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
The jury found that Stuart robbed The Corner Food Mart located at 3502 Mangum and discharged his firearm May 18, 2019. On May 23, 2019, Stuart also robbed the Citgo Gas Station located at 3839 South Loop East. During the Citgo robbery, Stuart shot the store clerk when he refused to give up the cash.
This kind of violent crime has to stop,” said Hamdani. “To those trigger-pullers that want to inflict harm on our community... be aware…we are coming after you. This man put lives in danger and was found guilty. I am happy that because of this jury and the dedicated work of our prosecutors and partners, he will now face the consequences of his actions.”
At trial, the jury heard from witnesses in both cases, including the surviving shooting victim, who were able to identify Stuart as the person who robbed and shot at them. The jury also heard from a firearms examiner who testified regarding firearms evidence collected from both scenes and the similarities between the evidence. A fingerprint examiner had compared a fingerprint left at the scene of the Citgo Gas Station robbery to Stuart and determined that it was the same.
Stuart represented himself during the trial and claimed he was not the individual who committed the robberies. The jury did not believe those claims and found him guilty as charged.
U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal presided over trial and set sentencing for July 27. At that time, Stuart faces up to 20 years for the robbery and up to life for the firearms charges which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.
Stuart has been and will remain in custody pending sentencing.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI conducted the investigation as part of the ATF Houston Crime Gun Strike Force with the assistance of the Houston Police Department (HPD) and the Houston Forensic Science Center. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolyn Ferko and Britni Cooper prosecuted the case.
The ATF Houston Crime Gun Strike Force was created as a joint effort between the ATF And HPD to combat the growing trend in crimes involving firearms.
Updated March 15, 2023