PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of robbery, brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan announced today.
Eric Lee Jones, age 34, of Pittsburgh, PA pleaded guilty to 7 counts before United States District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Jones robbed or attempted to rob four Allegheny County businesses in March 2022. On March 6, 2022, Jones robbed the Fox’s Pizza in Oakmont. During that robbery, Jones shot the owner of the restaurant, who was working at the time, several times in the chest, stomach, and legs. The owner survived, but was seriously injured. On March 10, 2022, Jones robbed the Sunoco on Hulton Road in Verona, and pointed a gun at the head of an employee as he did so. On March 15, 2022, Jones attempted to rob the Family Dollar on Frankstown Avenue in Pittsburgh, and during the attempted robbery he brandished a pistol, and fired it one time in the store. Less than 30 minutes later, Jones attempted to rob the Edgewood Avenue Express on Edgewood Avenue. During this last attempted robbery, Jones shot the owner of the Edgewood Avenue Express once, and attempted to shoot him again but Jones’ pistol malfunctioned. Fortunately, the storeowner was not seriously hurt.
Judge Wiegand scheduled sentencing for November 29, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 17 years and a maximum sentence of life, a fine of $1,750,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court ordered that the defendant remain detained.
Assistant United States Attorney Doug Maloney is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The successful investigation and prosecution was based on significant and timely interagency cooperation between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, the Allegheny County Police Department, the Penn Hills Police Department, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, as well as the Oakmont and Edgewood Police Departments.