Judge Pat Wolke sentenced 23-year-old Matthew James Dowell today in Josephine County Circuit Court to five years and 10 months in prison for a robbery he committed in the early morning hours of July 21 last year.
At approximately 3:00 a.m. on the date of the incident, Dowell entered the 7-Eleven convenience store at the intersection of 6th and M streets in a robbery outfit that included eye holes cut in a sweatshirt and demanded the clerk give him money and cigarettes. He then fled the scene with $58 in cash and $60 in cigarettes. Authorities eventually apprehended Dowell while he was being investigated for his involvement in a burglary ring.
The clerk testified he saw Dowell flash something white in his hand and that after the robbery Dowell told him to lie on the floor for 10 minutes. “I did not think I was going home to my family,” the clerk said. Deputy D.A. Lisa Turner said that because the victim was placed in fear of imminent danger, Dowell could not receive the Measure 11 escape hatch which would reduce his sentence.
Defense Attorney Rebecca Peterson said her client accepted responsibility for his actions, only made demands and no threats during the crime, made no verbal indication of a weapon and a heroin addiction provoked his actions which warranted the use of the escape hatch.
Wolke expressed that heroin addiction is becoming epidemic in our community, sided with the prosecution for sentencing, and added, “I have to send a strong message to our community.”