The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of PA released the below information:
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Jovaun Patterson, 30, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania entered a plea of guilty before United States District Court Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg on charges of one count of attempted robbery which interferes with interstate commerce (known as Hobbs Act robbery), and one count of using, carrying, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. These charges stem from the defendant’s attempted armed robbery on May 5, 2018, of the KCJ, Inc. convenience store during which Patterson shot the store owner Li (“Mike”) Poeng with an assault rifle, leaving Mr. Poeng in a coma and eventually confined to a wheelchair.
Prior to federal prosecutors filing these charges by Indictment in February 2019, Patterson was arrested by Philadelphia police for the May 5, 2018 incident and charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery–threat of immediate serious injury, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, possession of a firearm on a street in Philadelphia, possession of an instrument of crime, simple assault, and reckless endangerment of another person. On November 15, 2018, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office permitted Patterson to enter a negotiated guilty plea to charges of only aggravated assault, robbery–threat of immediate serious injury, and possession of an instrument of crime. The DA’s Office also agreed to a sentence of only 3½ to 10 years’ imprisonment. That plea deal was in line with the soft-on-crime priorities of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. Thereafter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office stepped in to bring federal charges and ensure justice was done.
“Violent crime is a severe and growing problem in Philadelphia, and fighting that trend is a top priority of my Office,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The Philadelphia District Attorney, Mr. Krasner, does not share that priority – preferring to look out for violent offenders like Mr. Patterson, who received a ridiculously lenient plea deal because of Mr. Krasner. I can assure the citizens of Philadelphia that my Office sees the problem and is working hard to do what we can to stem the rising tide by bringing federal charges when we are able, which is what occurred here. Now, this defendant will face a potential sentence that reflects the severity of his crime.”
“ATF’s top priority is combating violent crime; one of the ways we accomplish that mission is by keeping firearms out of the hands of violent offenders,” said Donald Robinson, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Philadelphia Field Division. “This case is a perfect example of the collaborative effort between ATF, our partners at the Philadelphia Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office in targeting violent offenders and protecting our communities.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The case was investigated by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Salvatore L. Astolfi.