Crime

Robbery spree nets long jail terms

Two Fresno men on Thursday were sentenced to hundreds of years in federal prison for their roles in a seven-month armed robbery spree that hit 30 businesses in Fresno and Madera counties in 2005 and 2006.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill sentenced Marcus Major to 749 years in prison, and co-defendant Jordan Huff received 746 years.

A jury in December found both Major, 24, and Huff, 25, guilty on 62 counts each. The charges included robbery, using a gun in a violent crime and firing a gun during a violent crime.

In handing down the sentences, O'Neill had harsh words for both men, calling them "terrorists in the simple meaning of that word."

"Neither of you deserves to be free in a civilized society, for one very good reason -- you are not civilized," O'Neill said. "I am going to do my utmost to make certain that neither of you ever spends another free day for the rest of your lives."

Federal prosecutors had earlier said that after consultation with the Fresno County District Attorney's Office, it was decided to file federal charges in the case because they carried stiffer penalties.

The series of robberies started on Christmas Eve 2005 at the AM/PM convenience store, 3327 W. Ashlan Ave., in Fresno. Before it was over, the same store would be hit a second time.

Wearing masks and gloves, two of the men usually stormed into the stores, putting guns to employees' heads and demanding cash. A third person stayed with the getaway car.

During six of the robberies, the suspects fired their guns, and twice they shot at people. At Mickey's Liquor, 440 W. Shields Ave. in Fresno, authorities said Major shot the store owner.

Seven people were indicted in the robberies, most of which hit convenience stores, gas stations and liquor stores. All received prison terms except one.

The jury that convicted Major and Huff acquitted Fresno resident Porcha Neal, 20, of being a co-conspirator in the robbery of the Dollar Tree at 3730 N. Blackstone Ave.

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