MINNEAPOLIS – Yesterday in federal court, a 30-year-old Rochester woman pleaded guilty to her role during an armed robbery at a McDonald’s in Byron, Minnesota. Quiana Shaneea Evans pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce by robbery and one count of aiding and abetting the use, carrying, possessing, and discharging of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Evans, who was indicted on May 21, 2012, entered her plea before United States District Judge Donovan W. Frank.
In her plea agreement, Evans admitted that on June 15, 2011, she entered the McDonald’s in Byron, Minnesota with Christian Aaron Alexander, who was armed with a Colt, .45-caliber pistol. While Alexander brandished the firearm, Evans and Alexander both demanded money from the restaurant employees. They eventually took approximately $1,851.68, including personal property belonging to the restaurant employees. During the crime, Evans and Alexander restrained the employees by locking them in a cold storage room at the restaurant. In addition, Alexander’s firearm discharged in the presence of the employees.
On September 27, 2011, Alexander, who was charged on September 8, 2011, pleaded guilty to three counts of interference with commerce by robbery, in violation of the Hobbs Act, and one count of brandishing and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, allows federal prosecutors to prosecute violent, habitual criminals who commit armed robbery in places of business involved in interstate commerce. Federal prosecution of those cases is sometimes beneficial since the penalties are often tougher than under state law. Furthermore, because the federal system has no parole, those who receive federal sentences serve virtually the entire time imposed. For his crimes, Alexander faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison for brandishing and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and 20 years on each count of interfering with commerce by robbery. Judge Frank will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.
For her crimes, Evans faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for interference with commerce by robbery, and a potential maximum penalty of life in prison for aiding and abetting the use, carrying, possessing, and discharging of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. Judge Frank will also determine her sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the United States ATF and the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.