Third suspected gas station robber changes plea

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A third suspect in a gas station robbery that took place in Lyle has changed his plea to guilty.



Keion Cornelius Clay, 23, of Austin, pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated robbery Monday in Mower County District Court. Elgin Green pleaded guilty earlier this month and Tuquan Lee Smith has maintained his innocence in the case.

The fourth suspect in the case, Vonzell Whitehead, was sentenced in January to 67 months in prison for his role in the burglary.

Email newsletter signup

According to the court complaint, the four men allegedly robbed the Freeborn County Co-Op Oil in Lyle at about 9 a.m. Nov. 10, 2013. The store clerk said three men entered the store, and one demanded all of the money. Another allegedly followed the clerk to an office and took more money and checks. The clerk locked the doors after the men left and called 911.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the call while an Austin Police officer set up surveillance outside of Austin. That officer later stopped a car with the four suspects in Austin. Officers searched the vehicle for a gun for their safety, and according to the court complaint, found a sweatshirt with a .22-caliber revolver, $353 in cash and eight checks written to the gas station.

A search warrant later uncovered dark clothing and hats.

The employee later identified Whitehead and Green as two of the four suspects. Police reviewed video surveillance, which indicated some of the suspects were in the store earlier that morning.

The complaint alleges Green pointed the gun at the clerk, and Whitehead pocketed money before leaving the store. Witnesses gave matching descriptions of the suspects’ car, as well. Clay will be sentenced Dec. 1.