Walmart robber sentenced to prisonThe presence of a BB gun proved to be the determining factor that sent Matthew Warren Schmidt to prison for 3.5 years for the robbery of Walmart last April.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
The presence of a BB gun proved to be the determining factor that sent Matthew Warren Schmidt to prison for 3.5 years for the robbery of Walmart last April.
“If there was a line crossed, that’s when it was crossed,” Minnesota First District Judge Kevin Mark said Friday. “You just raised the stakes for everyone, including yourself.”
Schmidt, 21, homeless, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree armed robbery Sept. 28. He was sentenced Friday.
According to a criminal complaint filed April 23, Schmidt entered Walmart April 22 and held a gun against the jaw of an employee, demanding money. The employee complied because “he feared for his life,” the complaint said.
Schmidt got into a red Dodge pickup driven by Andrue David Landmark, 280 Motel Ave. The vehicle fled the scene at a high rate of speed, catching the attention of a nearby Goodhue County Sheriff’s deputy.
The deputy and a Red Wing officer pursued the vehicle onto County Road 1 at speeds between 85 and 90 miles per hour. The vehicle eventually went off the road, and officers arrested Landmark and Schmidt.
Schmidt was allegedly carrying a backpack containing $200 in one-dollar bills. The complaints state that the bills stolen from Walmart were ones and fives.
“I don’t have any choice but to give you a prison sentence,” Mark said. “That is too violent an act and so dangerous that probation isn’t going to work.”
Goodhue County Attorney Chris Schrader had asked for the prison sentence, stating that Schmidt “deserves it.”
“It was an enormously scary thing to happen to somebody just working their shift,” he said, adding that the armed robbery not only affected the employee, but also the community’s sense of safety.
Defense attorney Catherine Turner argued that Schmidt should only receive probation, adding that he had an unstable childhood and he was young when the crime was committed.
“He did not have an adult thought process and have the ability to think about the long-term consequences,” Turner said.
Schmidt’s younger brother and sister, as well as a friend, spoke to Schmidt’s character in court Friday and asked Mark not to send him to prison.
Schmidt will serve his time at Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud. He will receive credit for 223 days served. With the Minnesota statute that states prisoners serve two-thirds of their sentence behind bars and the last third on supervised release, Mark told Schmidt that he will still be a young man when he’s let out.
“You’ll be 23 years old,” Mark said. “You’re going to be a very young man with lots of potential. Whether you’ll be successful or not is based on your decisions going forward.”
In a separate hearing Friday, Landmark, 22, was sentenced to 15 years of probation. He pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated robbery-liability for the crimes of another Sept. 10.
A four-year prison sentence will be stayed as long as Landmark completes his probation. As a condition of his probation, he will serve 365 days in Goodhue County Jail, with 223 days credit for time already served.
Schrader had asked the court to give Landmark a sentence equal to Schmidt’s.
“What he did was follow Schmidt to Walmart,” he said. “Because he did that, he bears responsibility not only for his own actions, but also the man who held a gun to (the victim’s) neck.”
But defense attorney Doug Bayley argued that Landmark is young, that this is his first crime and that he is remorseful for his actions.
Landmark’s father and family friend told Mark that they would take responsibility for Landmark and hold him accountable for completing his probation.
After sentencing, Mark again offered advice.
“You’ve been convicted of a very serious crime,” he said. “And you’re going to have to decide what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. You’re an adult now, and you’re responsible for where your life goes.”
Dylan Timothy Hanson, 20, 725 Bluff St., served as look-out during the robbery. He pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated robbery in July and was sentenced in September to one year in Goodhue County Jail and 20 years of probation.