Kristina Kim

Thomas Johnson pleaded guilty to federal robbery and firearm charges on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea LAW ’93 in federal court in Hartford.

“The minimum sentencing for this crime is 10 years, because the defendant displayed a gun during the robbery,” said Johnson’s defense attorney Audrey Felsen, lead attorney at Koffsky and Felsen, LLC.

Johnson is a 27-year-old New Haven resident who attempted to rob a convenience store on June 30, 2016, shooting a victim at the scene, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release about the incident. At approximately 1:41 a.m., the New Haven Police Department dispatched officers to Ferry Street after being notified that a person had been shot. At the scene, officers found two victims — one who had been shot in the left elbow and was bleeding heavily and another who was bleeding from the nose after being struck in the face with the gun by Johnson’s accomplice. The shooting was not fatal.

The police investigation included witness interviews, DNA evidence, ballistics evidence and footage from a surveillance video, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release. The investigation found that Thomas Johnson and Shaquille Richardson attacked the two victims after they exited the convenience store in an attempt to steal marijuana and money from the victims. Richardson, who pleaded guilty to related charges on Jan. 31, also awaits sentencing. Johnson and Richardson have been detained since their arrests, according to the press release.

Johnson is charged with one count of Hobbs Act Robbery, an offense that carries a maximum prison term of 20 years; one count of possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, an offense that carries a maximum prison term of 10 years; and one count of discharging a firearm that carries a mandatory consecutive prison term of 10 years.

Although no individual charge carries a life sentence, said Thomas Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Haven, the maximum sentencing for all the combined charges is a life sentence. Carson said he was unable to comment on the amount of money that was stolen from the victims during the robbery.

Johnson’s sentencing is scheduled for July 8, according to his defense attorney Felsen.

Christina Carrafiell | christina.carrafiell@yale.edu