Baltimore Felon Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison for the Robbery of a Gas Station Owner | USAO-MD

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Levon Verian Butts, age 29, of Baltimore, Maryland, to 12 years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for participating in the armed robbery of a gas station owner.  The sentence was imposed on October 2, 2020.  Butts has been detained since his arrest. 

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Ashan Benedict of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division; and Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, on January 16, 2018, Butts and two co-conspirators robbed the owner of a gas station in the 10000 block of Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills, Maryland.  As detailed in the plea agreement, Jesse James Elder was a frequent customer of the gas station and was friendly with the employees, including the owner.  On January 16, 2018, Elder was at the gas station playing the lottery when the owner arrived.  Shortly after his arrival, the owner placed $20,000, proceeds from the gas station, into a bank bag and left the store.  As he was walking out, he stopped next to Elder’s vehicle, which was parked in the gas station lot, and began talking to Elder.  While the owner and Elder were talking, Butts and Charvez Deonte Brooks approached from a neighboring parking lot and hid behind other parked cars.  When the owner walked away from Elder’s vehicle, Butts and Brooks pushed the owner to the ground and grabbed the bank bag from his hand.

Butts and Brooks tried to run back to the adjacent parking lot.  A bystander tripped Butts, causing him to run out of his shoes, which Butts left in the parking lot.  Brooks dropped some of the money.  Butts and Brooks got into co-conspirator Brooks’ silver Infiniti and fled the area.  Elder drove around the owner, who was lying motionless in the parking lot, and left the gas station.

As a result of being pushed to the ground, the owner of the gas station hit his head on the pavement and was knocked unconscious.  He was transported to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with multiple skull fractures, a cerebral hemorrhage, and remained in critical condition.  He has not returned to normal function.

Baltimore County Police officers responded to the gas station and recovered the money that had been dropped by Brooks and Butts’ shoes from the gas station parking lot.  They also recovered a .22-caliber handgun and additional money in the parking lot near where the Infiniti had been parked.  DNA from the shoes matched Butts’ DNA.

Elder, age 45, of Owings Mills, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a commercial robbery.  Brooks, age 31, of Gwynn Oak, Maryland, was convicted of that charge after a five-day trial.  Both defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.  U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has not scheduled sentencing for Elder.  Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for Brooks on December 5, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.  Elder and Brooks remain detained.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren E. Perry and Anatoly Smolkin, who are prosecuting the case.

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