Derrick Fowler was convicted of robbery of a business affecting interstate commerce, a crime that carries maximum potential penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and supervised release for three years, but was acquitted of using a fully automatic machine gun to commit a crime of violence, Masden said.
Fowler’s two reported accomplices, William Simmons and Christopher Dunning, both pled guilty to second-degree robbery with complicity in Trigg County Circuit Court in September 2008, said Trigg County Circuit Court Clerk Pam Perry. She added that Simmons was sentenced to eight years, while Dunning was sentenced to six years.
Testimony at the trial established that on Oct. 11, 2007, Fowler, Simmons Dunning formulated a plan to rob the Handy Korner Market located at the intersection of Ky. 274 and Goose Hollow Road in the Rockcastle community, said U.S. Attorney Candace G. Hill of the Western Kentucky District of the DOJ.
Rick Chidester of the Handy Korner Market said Dunning and Simmons were at the trial two weeks ago to testify against Fowler.
Hill said that the Handy Korner Market is “engaged in interstate commerce since the goods and products purchased by the store and sold to the public have traveled in interstate commerce.”
Handy Korner also serves a large number of customers who travel to the area from out of state, particularly during the summer months, added Hill.
The three men agreed that Dunning would be the getaway driver and that Simmons would be the lookout, and after Simmons was dropped off across the street from Handy Korner, Dunning and Fowler waited for traffic near the store to slow down, and when it did Dunning dropped Fowler off at the store’s parking lot, Masden said.
Fowler, who was wearing Dunning’s camouflage blouse, gloves, mask and camouflage pants, went into the store with a “loaded, fully automatic Sten-type 9 mm machine gun” and robbed a co-owner of the store who was working as the cashier, said Masden.
After getting more than $900 from the store, Fowler dropped some of it, walked toward Simmons across the street and the two walked down Carl Gray Road, where a county road department employee saw the two, said Hill.
Law enforcement officers from the Cadiz Police Department, the Trigg County Sheriff’s Department and the Kentucky State Police conducted the investigation that led to the arrests, with assistance from the Paducah Satellite Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Hill said.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas W. Dyke.
Fowler is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas B. Russell, who presided over his trial, at 11:30 a.m. April 28 in Paducah.