Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announced that on February 6, 2013, Demetrius Charles Edward Derden, age 28, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Patrick Schiltz to 170 months in federal prison on the criminal charge of interference with commerce by robbery, pursuant to the Hobbs Act. The Hobbs Act allows federal prosecutors to prosecute violent criminals who commit armed robbery in places of business that involve interstate commerce.
This violent robbery was investigated by the Carver County Sheriff’s Office and initially prosecuted by the Carver County Attorney’s Office. However, this robbery violated both state and federal laws; because federal law called for a sentence nearly double that available under Minnesota state law, Carver County Attorney Metz requested that the United States Attorney prosecute the case. The United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota graciously agreed and the federal prosecution was ably prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie Allyn.
This case arose from an incident of December 3, 2011, when Derden, armed with a handgun, entered the Mayer Oil Company gas station. Derden brandished the gun at the clerk and demanded the store’s cash. The clerk emptied the cash drawer. Then Derden led the clerk at gunpoint to the rear of the store where the safe was located. The clerk gave Derden the cash from the bottom of the safe but told Derden that he did not know the combination to the upper compartment of the safe.
Upon hearing the upper compartment could not be opened, Derden placed the barrel of the gun to the back of the clerk’s neck and stated: “you’d better remember – your life depends on it.” The clerk then heard the gun “click” and believed he was about to be shot dead. The clerk then stood and began “the fight of his life.”
A violent struggle ensued. In part, Derden violently struck the clerk in the head with the handgun and Derden viciously bit the clerk’s hand. Fortunately, although injured, this brave clerk was able to punch Derden in the groin, gain control of the handgun and then strike Derden in the head with the gun. Derden fled with the cash but left some of his personal belongings behind, including an empty bottle of rum and a check card in the name of Demetrius C. Derden. Derden was arrested several hours later at his residence in Blaine. Investigators later learned the weapon used was a BB gun.
County Attorney Metz noted that the federal sentence was nearly double than that called for under Minnesota law. Derden will be required to serve 80% of the 170 month federal sentence if he abides by all the rules while incarcerated (11.3 years).
In addition, County Attorney Metz complimented the United States Attorney’s Office for their outstanding job in prosecuting this serious case and obtaining the longest possible sentence in which an innocent convenience store clerk was not only wantonly injured but justly feared for his life. Finally, County Attorney Metz praised Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson and his staff for their prompt investigation that led to the quick arrest to remove this dangerous offender from the street.