CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS — A Corpus Christi man was handed down a ten and a half year sentence after he pleads guilty to robbing two convenience stores and kidnapping a store clerk.
Billy Ray Mitchell was given a 125-month sentence Thursday morning in federal court.
Mitchell robbed the Murphy Express convenience store in the 6600 block of Saratoga Blvd. on Oct. 29, 2018, at 7:20 am.
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 female store clerk, forcing her into her vehicle and ordering her to drive him to a nearby apartment complex.
When they got to the apartment, Mitchell bound and gagged the clerk using the stolen duct tape and leaving the clerk in the vehicle.
Police officers searched the area but were unable to locate Mitchell at that time.
Corpus Christi police department officers reviewed video surveillance of the convenience store. They 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 vehicle. This time, the clerk yelled out for help. 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 prints from the store were determined to be a match to Mitchell.
Agents executed a search warrant on Mitchell's home the next day and found the distinctive bright yellow shirt he wore during the Murphy Express robbery.
Mitchell later admitted he committed both robberies.
After serving his sentence, he will remain on supervised release for three years.