INDIANAPOLIS-(ENEWSPF)-Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced August 10 that Carl James Matthews, age 28, of Indianapolis, has been sentenced to 264 months (22 years) in prison this morning by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. This follows the defendant’s plea of guilty to four counts of interfering with interstate commerce by robbery and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.
“This is a shining example of local and federal law enforcement agencies working together, sharing resources, and ultimately removing a violent, repeat offender from the streets of Indianapolis,” said United States Attorney Joseph Hogsett. “The FBI Safe Streets Task Force and our partners at IMPD deserve tremendous credit for their efforts in pulling this case together.”
Matthews was arrested by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police (IMPD) on November 2, 2011, following an armed robbery of the Discount Tobacco store located at 1702 Southeastern Avenue, in Indianapolis. Subsequent investigation by IMPD detectives and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force revealed that between October 28 and November 2, 2011, Matthews committed at least four armed robberies in Marion County, including a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a Speedway gas station, and two different Discount Tobacco stores.
In each of those robberies, Matthews entered the business, brandished a 9mm pistol, and demanded that store employees give him all of the money within the cash registers. In two of the robberies, Matthews ordered employees in the store to lie on the ground at gunpoint before fleeing. All totaled, Matthews stole $2,349 from the four businesses.
In handing down the 22-year sentence, Judge Pratt noted Matthews’ lengthy, violent criminal history, including prior felony convictions for child molestation in 2002, armed robbery in 2005, and possession of methamphetamine precursors in 2011. Judge Pratt also noted that Matthews was on parole for the 2005 robbery conviction at the time of his arrest for the 2011 robbery charges.
Federal prisoners are not eligible for parole, and Matthews will not be eligible for release before serving at least 85 percent of his federal sentence. Following his release, Judge Pratt ordered Matthews to serve a five-year period of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $2,349 to the victim businesses.
Announced by Hogsett in March 2011, the Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) represents a district-wide strategy to work with local law enforcement and county prosecutors to combat drug traffickers and criminals that use and carry firearms in their illegal activities. As part of the VCI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has redoubled efforts to federally prosecute individuals who illegally possess and distribute firearms in central and southern Indiana.
In the first nine months of the initiative, the VCI produced a dramatic increase in the number of gun-related charges brought federally—from just 14 felony possession charges in 2010 to more than 110 last year. More than half of those new prosecutions were in Marion County, and the criminal histories of the defendants charged account for hundreds of prior felonies in the Indianapolis area.