FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for robbing the Sonic Drive-In Restaurant in Shiprock with an AK-47.
Eddie Shirley, 28, pleaded guilty in June to a charge of using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence in connection to the robbery.
Jerrileta Singer, 32, is a co-defendant in the case. She pleaded guilty in September to a robbery charge and is facing up to 15 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 28, according to a news release from The U.S. Attorneys Office for the District of New Mexico.
Shirley and Singer entered the Sonic near closing time on Nov. 30, 2012 and Shirley pointed an AK-47 at a manager and demanded money, according to court documents.
Singer stayed near the restaurant's door during the robbery, according to the documents.
Both Shirley and Singer wore masks and hooded sweatshirts to disguise themselves.
Sonic employees said they gave the robbers about $400. The robbers then left in a light-colored sedan, which investigators determined belonged to Singer's mother, according to the documents.
Shirley was a former Sonic employee who was fired days before the robbery, according to the documents. He was arrested in December 2012 and Singer was arrested the next month.
"Frustration with living in a chronic state of poverty and not having the kind of material possessions that so many others had that he wanted but did not have, and aided by the use of alcohol, Mr. Shirley and his companion took matters into their own hands," Benjamin Gonzales, Shirley's attorney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum. "The satisfaction of the robbery was short, as the money was divided and quickly spent. Not much time passed before Mr. Shirley and his co-defendant were arrested."
Gonzales said Shirley plans to spend his time in prison treating his alcoholism, which has been a problem for 10 years, and earning a Graduate Equivalency Diploma.
"He has had a great deal of time to think over what he has done," Gonzales wrote. "Mr. Shirley knows that it is time for things to change."
Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.