CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 48-year-old Corpus Christi resident has been ordered to federal prison after he pleaded guilty to robbing two convenience stores, kidnapping the clerks, and causing interference with interstate or foreign commerce, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Billy Ray Mitchell pleaded guilty July 25, 2019.
Thursday, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos handed Mitchell a 125-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.
On Oct. 29, 2018, Mitchell robbed the Murphy Express convenience store in Corpus Christi at approximately 7:20 a.m. with a knife.
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 her to drive him to a nearby apartment complex.
Upon arrival there, Mitchell bound and gagged the clerk using the stolen duct tape, 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 knifepoint 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. 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.
He has been detained since his arrest and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.
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.