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Press Release

Local Man Convicted of Robbing Local Convenience Stores with a Knife

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

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 47-year-old resident of Corpus Christi has entered a guilty plea to two counts of robbery causing an interference with interstate or foreign commerce, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

On Oct. 29, 2018, Billy Ray Mitchell robbed the Murphy Express convenience store in Corpus Christi at approximately 7:20 a.m. at knife point. Mitchell forced the clerk into the office where a safe was located and robbed the store of cash, cigarettes and duct tape. Mitchell then abducted the clerk, forcing her into her own vehicle and ordering the clerk to drive him to a nearby apartment complex. 

Upon arrival there, Mitchell bound and gagged the clerk using the stolen duct tape, took her cellular telephone and departed the area on foot, leaving the clerk in the vehicle.

Police officers searched the area but were unable to locate Mitchell at that time. Later, agents reviewed video surveillance of the convenience store and noticed that Mitchell was wearing a distinctive neon yellow shirt with “MY SHIRT IS BRIGHTER THAN YOUR FUTURE” printed on the front. 

On Nov. 8, 2018, at approximately 4 a.m., Mitchell robbed a Circle K convenience store in Corpus Christi, threatening the store clerk with a large kitchen knife. Mitchell brandished the weapon and forced the clerk at knife point to assist in opening the cash register. Mitchell robbed the store of a pack of cigarettes and the entire contents of the cash register. Again, Mitchell forced the clerk from the store and ordered him to drive him from the scene in the clerk’s own vehicle. This time, the clerk yelled out for help to a nearby patron and Mitchell fled the scene on foot. 

Police officers searched the area but were unable to locate Mitchell at that time. However, crime scene investigators were able to recover latent fingerprints from a beer cooler that Mitchell touched. When compared, the fingerprints from the store were determined to be a match to Mitchell.

Agents executed a search warrant on Mitchell’s residence the next day and found the distinctive bright yellow shirt he wore during the Murphy Express robbery.

Mitchell later admitted he committed both robberies.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos accepted the plea and set sentencing for Nov. 14, 2019, at which time Mitchell faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a maximum $250,000 fine for each count.

Mitchell has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Corpus Christi Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Paxton is prosecuting the case.

Updated July 25, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime