United States Attorney's Office for the District of South Dakota

11/22/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/22/2020 11:25

Sioux Falls and Yankton Men Sentenced to Federal Prison for Interference with Commerce by Threats and Violence and Brandishing Firearm During Crime of Violence

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Sioux Falls and Yankton, South Dakota, men were sentenced in federal court on November 13, 2020, for Interference with Commerce by Threats and Violence and Brandishing a Firearm During a Federal Crime of Violence. The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Lawrence L. Piersol.

Steven Joseph King, age 30 from Sioux Falls, was sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. King was also ordered to pay $1,621 in restitution and $200 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Spencer William Brown, Jr., age 51 from Yankton, was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Brown was also ordered to pay $1,621 in restitution and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

According to court documents, on or about January 6, 2020, King and Brown robbed a victim from a Hartford business, by unlawfully taking and obtaining U.S. currency against the victim's will by means of actual and threatened force, violence, and fear of injury immediate and future, by brandishing a firearm, demanding money, and forcibly taking the money.

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 its 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.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice's signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department's past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

The investigation was conducted by the Sioux Falls Police Department, Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Connie Larson prosecuted the case.

King and Brown were remanded to custody to serve their sentences.