CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A South Texas man was sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison for robbing two convenience stores in Corpus Christi, Texas, kidnapping the clerks, and causing an interference with interstate or foreign commerce.
This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Corpus Christi Police Department.
Billy Ray Mitchell, 48, from Corpus Christi, was sentenced Nov. 14 to 125 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. Mitchell pleaded guilty to the criminal charges July 25, 2019.
On Oct. 29, 2018, Mitchell robbed the Murphy Express convenience store in Corpus Christi at about 7:20 a.m. at knife point. 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 identified that Mitchell wore a distinctive neon yellow shirt printed on the front with: “MY SHIRT IS BRIGHTER THAN YOUR FUTURE.”
On Nov. 8, 2018, at about 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 knife point 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. The fingerprints taken from the store were later 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 confessed to both robberies.
Mitchell remains in federal custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Paxton, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.