MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jeremiah Edwards, 34, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to a total of 15 years in federal prison.
On February 13, 2020, a jury found Edwards guilty of armed robbery of an O’Reilly Auto Parts store, brandishing a firearm during that crime, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing THC-products with an intent to distribute, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime. The jury reached its verdict after 7 hours of deliberations following four days of testimony in federal court in Madison.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Edwards, along with Kanasha Woods, robbed the O’Reilly Auto Parts Store at 1826 S. Stoughton Road in the Town of Blooming Grove in Dane County, on November 8, 2018. Both Edwards and Woods brandished firearms during the robbery and obtained cash from the safe and cash register drawers. Edwards and Woods fled the scene and drove to the Moorish Science Temple in downtown Madison where Madison police officers attempted a traffic stop. Edwards evaded the stop and led the police in a high-speed chase through downtown Madison that ended with him crashing the vehicle, and fleeing the scene on foot.
During a search of the getaway vehicle, officers found the robbery proceeds, a ski mask and gloves used by Woods in the armed robbery, a receipt from Walmart showing the purchase of the mask and gloves, and a tactical light/laser that was on the firearm used by Edwards during the robbery. Officers also found a variety of marijuana and THC products and marijuana in individually packaged portions, as well as multiple THC vape cartridges, THC oil, and THC edibles. These products contained home-made labels with skull & crossbones in the names of “OG” and “LK.” During a second search of the vehicle, officers found a loaded 9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol along with a black stocking hat with a green Moorish star on it. Both of these items were found in a hidden compartment in the ceiling of the vehicle behind a sunglasses holder. Analysts from the Wisconsin State Crime Lab in Madison testified that the Glock 19 and the black stocking hat contained Edwards’s DNA, and that the drugs found in the Mitsubishi Outlander contained THC, which is a Schedule I controlled substance. The government also presented evidence that four hours after the robbery, Edwards drained his bank account at an ATM in a laundromat located just 1 mile from the crash site, and fled to Chicago using a fake ID. He was arrested in Chicago on March 11, 2019.
At today’s sentencing, Edwards accused the police, prosecutors, judge and jury of being racists for allowing the conviction of an innocent Black man. Judge Peterson took issue with Edwards’s comments and noted that he has no doubt that Edwards is guilty, and that Edwards committed very serious crimes including an aggressive armed robbery followed by a getaway that involved unsafe driving resulting in a car crash. Judge Peterson also explained to Edwards that his armed robbery not only impacted the three victims in the store, but he also exploited a confused and vulnerable young woman to be his accomplice. Judge Peterson added that Edwards failed to take responsibility for his actions, and his trial strategy involved a false alibi where he convinced a different woman to supply the FBI with falsified evidence to support the fabricated alibi.
In choosing a sentence of 15 years, Judge Peterson told Edwards that his primary task in imposing such a long sentence was to incapacitate Edwards and protect the public from Edwards. Judge Peterson pointed out that Edwards had a prior felony conviction for robbery and then engaged in another armed robbery in a very aggressive manner that put people in danger.
Federal law requires that the mandatory 7-year and 5-year gun sentences be served consecutively to each other, and to the sentence imposed on the robbery charge, the drug charge, and the felon in possession charge.
The charges against Edwards and Woods are the result of an investigation by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, the Madison Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Chadwick M. Elgersma and Daniel J. Graber.