Two Kansas City, Kan., men who robbed a convenience store at gunpoint, and who could have faced state charges, will instead possibly get life sentences in a federal court.
Donnell H. Roberson, 25, and Jerome M. “Bubbles” Brown, 22, are examples of a federal initiative in Kansas intended to mete out tougher penalties for violent and repeat offenders.
Roberson pleaded guilty Wednesday and Brown pleaded guilty last month to federal firearms charges relating to the robbery in January 2011. Their cases were singled out for attention by U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, who last year announced that his office would take over some state cases because federal courts can impose longer prison sentences for firearms violations.
At the time, Wyandotte District Attorney Jerome Gorman said Roberson and Brown could maybe get 15 years for the armed robbery in state court, but in federal court they could get 20 to 40 years. Under federal code, brandishing a firearm during a robbery carries a sentence of seven years to life without parole.
Roberson was shot by the clerk of the store at 6868 Kaw Drive and lost a lung. The two robbers got about $370.