Man who terrorized Alexandria with armed robberies, sexual assaults sentenced to prison
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - A 29-year-old man, who terrorized the Alexandria community while committing a string of armed robberies and sexual assaults 16 months ago, has been sentenced to more than 21 years in prison and officials pledged to keep an eye...
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – A 29-year-old man, who terrorized the Alexandria community while committing a string of armed robberies and sexual assaults 16 months ago, has been sentenced to more than 21 years in prison and officials pledged to keep an eye on him the rest of his life.
Michael Warren of Alexandria, dressed in green inmate garb and wearing handcuffs, received the sentence from Judge Ann Carrott in Douglas County District Court on Wednesday.
Carrott told Warren that his crime spree not only hurt five victims and three businesses but also had a palpable impact on the community. She said that in all her years on the bench, she had never been confronted by someone who committed such serious offenses for his own satisfaction.
Warren was arrested on March 21, 2014, after armed robberies occurred at Subway, Premier Video and Super America in Alexandria between Feb. 23 and March 18.
In two of the robberies, a female store clerk was bound and sexually assaulted.
Also, after the Super America robbery, the suspect pointed a gun at a man sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot and demanded his wallet.
Warren became a suspect in the case after investigators, knowing that two of the robberies involved sexual assault, began to interview registered sexual predators in the area, including Warren. He was convicted in 2008 of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Big Stone County.
Before sentencing Wednesday, the judge asked if there were any victims in the courtroom who wanted to give a statement.
A young clerk who was sexually assaulted by Warren during a robbery spoke how the incident still haunts her. She went into depression, couldn't sleep, took medications, went through counseling and is still dealing with panic and anxiety attacks.
She said she still "freaks out" over loud noises and sudden movements and could not have gotten through the ordeal without support from her family, friends and co-workers.
Other victims and the businesses submitted written impact statements to Carrott.
Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson said the entire community was terrified by the crimes. He said that some parents made their children quit their part-time jobs, afraid that they could be the next victims, and businesses struggled to find employees.
A lot of people were afraid to leave their homes at night, Larson said.
"No prison sentence can erase the effects these crimes had," Larson told Carrott.
Warren rarely spoke during the hearing. When Carrott asked if he had anything to say before sentencing, he replied, "No, Your Honor."
Warren will serve two-thirds of his sentence, about 14 years, behind bars and the rest on supervised release. He was placed on supervision for the rest of his life and will be sent back to prison if he violates any conditions.
He was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $52,259, most of it to cover workers compensation claims filed at a business that was robbed.
The sentence was worked out during a plea agreement. Warren pleaded guilty in late May to three first-degree aggravated robberies and one charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Dismissed were three charges of false imprisonment, three kidnapping charges, another robbery charge and a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.
In a statement, Larson said the sentence will keep Warren off the streets.
"I don't know who will be county attorney when he is eligible for release, but you can be assured that he will be a good candidate for civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person at that time."