East St. Louis Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Robbery, Gun Charges
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that Phillip W. Smith, 33, of East St. Louis, Illinois, pled guilty in federal district court in East St. Louis today to all three counts of an Indictment that charged Smith with Hobbs Act Robbery (which makes it a federal crime to obstruct, delay, or affect interstate commerce by robbery or to commit an act of violence against a person in furtherance of such a robbery); possessing, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence; and possession of ammunition by a felon.
Under the terms of a plea agreement filed with the court, the prosecution will recommend that Smith be sentenced to a term in federal prison of 300 months (25 years). Smith will also be subject to a term of supervised release of up to five years following his prison term, a fine of up to $250,000 for each count, and a $300 special assessment. Sentencing is set for August 26, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in East St. Louis.
A factual stipulation filed with the court states that Smith, after entering Ferguson Television and Satellite shop in Caseyville, Illinois, on November 14, 2013, brandished a firearm and demanded money of “J.F.,” the proprietor of the shop. J.F. produced $42, which was property of the shop, which was engaged in interstate commerce. Smith fired the firearm at least nine times, and in doing so, caused J.F. to suffer 12 entry and exit wounds, which have left permanent scars.
Due to J.F.’s injuries suffered during the robbery, Ferguson Television and Satellite shop was forced to close for business for approximately two months—from November 14, 2013 through approximately January 15, 2014—resulting in loss of business income for Ferguson Television and Satellite shop.
Smith was previously convicted of a federal felony on or about October 27, 2003, for possession of a firearm by a felon.
Despite an intensive search by multiple police departments, the firearm used in this case was not recovered, but the nine spent rounds of 9mm ammunition were. That ammunition had been manufactured outside the state of Illinois and is the basis for the charge of possession of ammunition by a felon.
United States Attorney Wigginton praised the swift and cooperative efforts of many Metro-East law enforcement agencies as part of the Metro-East Armed Robbery Initiative, including members of the Caseyville Police Department, the Belleville Police Department, the Collinsville Police Department, the Brooklyn Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their rapid response in this case. “Without this selfless and cooperative effort, this case may not have been solved. It is gratifying to see the outpouring of support that the brave men and women of law enforcement give in order to protect all of us in Southern Illinois,” Wigginton noted.
The case is being prosecuted by United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Clark.